On December 5th 2013, South Africans and the world heard the sad news that the icon whom we had come to know as father of the nation had passed. It was a day we foresaw since his first hospitalisation in July of the same year, but it still felt surreal. His death (well, his memory) as well as birthday – which has become Mandela Day, a day dedicated to extending a helping hand for a minimum of 67 minutes – has served as a lesson South Africans have learned from him, to honour his legacy. He left behind his wife, Graca Machel and his extended family, including 18 grandchildren.
Nelson Mandela became known the world-over as a South African revolutionary liberation leader fighting for freedom and democracy in a country that was plagued by segregation and injustice. He ‘went through the most’ (as you tweeps would say), with the biggest art of it all being his 27-year long prison sentence on Robben Island: hurdles which propelled his undying spirit for change and equality, leading to the ANC winning the first democratic elections with a 62% majority. His efforts also earned him a Nobel Peace Prize just after his release in 1990.
After his release from prison, at a national-level, the nation had one of the most iconic moments in sports history to date. That became known as Madiba Magic and the proof can be seen from the 1995 Rugby World Cup victory as well as the 1996 AFCON championship (we remember this as if it were yesterday; yes – we’ve been around).
His memory continues to live on and serve as inspiration. Here are some of the quotes that we keep to heart each day!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
We will always remember you, Madiba, and it is through your work, your bravery, respect for humanity and peace-loving demeanour, that your legacy continues.