Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013
This small tribute that I wish to pay to Nelson Mandela will without doubt be just one amongst millions. Unlike the news of his passing it will probably only reach a handful of people; but somehow a man that few of us have met or claim to have known personally, except through the media, became part of our lives and his loss means we are the poorer for it.
His is a rare breed, a true child of God, whose faith was the bedrock on which he based his life. Who saw ways of dealing with the world, not with hatred and a desire to extract maximum retribution for the events in his life, but who took love and made it the measure by which he weighed up his actions both on the personal and political stage.
He undoubtedly prevented a bloody civil war from breaking out in South Africa in the 1990’s with his message of truth and reconciliation, which paved the way for a far-reaching constitution that dismantled apartheid and guaranteed freedom for all; regardless of whether your skin was black or white or any hue in between. He valued the person not the persona; the genuine not the gender; the true of heart not the heartless.
The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a small step.” —Chinese Proverb.
As his book title ‘Long Walk to Freedom‘ suggests, his journey was long and arduous at times. The fact that he continued to do all he could to bring about freedom for the people of South Africa, even whilst imprisoned for many years, shows that his vision was not diminished and his first step back into the outside world turned that walk into a joyful race in which the prize was not only won for Africa, but for the whole world.
You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win!
1 Corinthians 9:24
We are called to be lights to the world, and with the passing of Nelson Mandela many may say that a light has gone and the world is a darker place for it. I believe that his light has ignited a flame that will shine in the lives of millions of people now and for eternity. God speed Madiba and rest now in glory.