RIP Nelson Mandela: A life to be celebrated

Nelson Mandela. As tributes pour in from world leaders, from people who lived knowing him well and from those who have prominence in the world, I began thinking how this man made me feel so connected to him. Without delving too much in my own history, I will give you a slight insight. My parents were born and brought up in one of Africa’s smallest and beautiful countries; Malawi (a country that today’s generation might associate with Madonna). I have relatives who were in the families who were forced to leave Uganda in the 70s by instruction of the then President, Idi Amin. The African continent has and always will have an influence in my life and my sense of belonging. This plays a huge part in  my feeling so connected to Mandela and his way of thinking.

I was all of 8-years-old when it was the end of apartheid and when Mandela took his long walk to freedom, as many refer to it, after a long 27 years of imprisonment. I don’t remember much of the news of that day or that era (obviously as I was too young to take it all in) or to even know who he was or what he stood for. However, there’s one thing I do know and is that what his heroic, independent and truly inspirational ideologies did for the South African nation and the world will probably never come about in my lifetime again. This is why when I used to watch him on TV smiling as if he had reached contentment, I knew I was lucky to live in his time. This is why I feel a personal connection… a connection I am sure many others would be feeling too.

Mandela’s worth has always been felt throughout those lives he touched and those communities he integrated. However, the most magical thing about a person and a leader of such stature and clarity is that he was destined to leave behind a legacy that would see a future generation inspired. In today’s age, states are lucky if leaders leave behind any kind of legacy that is memorable but for Mandela, both my generation and future generations will (I hope) work towards a more harmonious and democratic way of the world.

He is often referred to as the father of South Africa and rightfully so. His hands, however, felt as if they were on top of all the children of the world… all of us who chose to let this amazing human being touch our lives. As we mourn the loss of one of life’s true warriors, there’s nothing more for me to say than thank you. Thank you to his pure heart who had no negative feelings when they were most expected… for bringing peace when he could have brought tension… and for bringing inspiration at every step of his journey. Rest in peace… for you will never be forgotten. Words cannot express the debt of gratitude the world owes to you.

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Some inspirational words from Nelson Mandela in his time…

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison”.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find ways in which you yourself have altered”.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”.

“When you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same”.

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”.

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”.

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen”.

“If people can learn to hate, they can be taught to love”.

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