On Thursday 5 November just after 9pm, Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, passed away at the age of 95. I think everyone feels at a loss for words to really describe the magnitude of his contribution to South Africa, to the world, and to each of us individually - to our own personal histories, the way we treat each other, and the way we interact with each other as individual members of a larger whole. Mandela, jailed for 27 years, emerged from prison only to forgive his oppressors, to focus on forgiveness and unity rather than resentment, anger and further disunity and division. His dream for South Africa - for the world - was one without oppression, free from injustice and inequality. We have come far, that is for sure, but there is still a long way to go - as a society, and as individuals - for us to truly embody the legacy of this great man.

Mandela's passing has reminded me of how I can work towards these values in my own life. Some of his wise words, to which I aspire: 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead"  

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” 

"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."

"It always seems impossible until it is done." 

Hamba kahle, Madiba. 

An interfaith memorial service outside the old City Hall in Cape Town, where Mandela gave his first speech after being released from prison in 1990. 


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