RIP Nelson Mandela - the world will not forget
Today, with a heavy heart, the world mourns and reflects on the life of Nelson Mandela.
He has touched our lives in different ways, individuals in this vast world, and many of us can all recall particular moments in our lives where his presence has made an impact. I remember two important turning points in my life.
The first was when I was 17. 1988, an important year of discovery, of growing up, of finding my own ‘freedom’ and the limitations that came with venturing into the world of adulthood and responsibility. My final year of high school, a time of falling in love, of broken hearts, of promise and anticipation. A new world was at my feet and I was entering it with some excitement and trepidation.
I remember singing along to the uplifting and hopeful tune of “Free Nelson Mandela” as it played on the radio. I remember watching the ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ concert at Wembley Stadium on TV, with many of my 80s music idols performing as the world united to demand the freedom of this great man. This was 2 years before his release from prison. In 1990 his incredible autobiography “The Long Walk to Freedom” was first published. Like millions who rushed out to purchase his book just a few months after his release, I read mine from cover to cover, in awe as I read every word. We could all learn from his courage, tenacity, gentleness and humour, his strong belief in what is right.
24 years later, in 2012, while I was fighting my own life battle, overcoming one of life’s worst fears, I spent many hours browsing the internet and reading inspirational quotes to help me get through my cancer journey. The quotes that had the most impact on me were indeed those of the great Mr Mandela. Through his quotes he taught me how to overcome fear, that nothing is impossible, that the world is indeed a beautiful place.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." (Nelson Mandela)
Today he joins the many angels who changed our world for the better during their lives on earth. Gandhi, Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, Darwin, Newton, Einstein, Mozart, Van Gogh (the list is endless) .... in whatever field they worked or path they walked, through their shared passion, strength and perseverance they have made their mark on the world. We can be proud that we have the freedom and opportunity to live richer, better lives thanks to their legacies. Mandela’s passion was love, peace, freedom and equality for all. He changed the world and will continue to inspire and teach us all. He will continue to inspire and in spirit, he will lead future greats as they follow their passion and fight for a better world. Behind each of these great names were people, like each and every one of us. Individuals who believed they could make a difference. And they did.
I only hope that my children and generations to come can be taught to have values and to follow their passion. To respect and to love. We are responsible for what we teach our children and I have hope that they too will believe in their ability to change the world.
“Don’t judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” (Nelson Mandela)
We salute you, Nelson Mandela, ‘Madiba’. Thank you. Rest in Peace.
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