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Nelson Mandela 18 July 1918 to 5 December 2013
There are moments in our lives that we will always remember. Where we were. What we were doing. Who we were with. I remember the announcement that Nelson Mandela was to be released. I remember the day he was released. And I remember our elections in 1994.
Much will be written in the coming weeks by people more capable than I to express the gratitude I feel. How do you thank a man who saved a nation? How do you thank a man who instigated a revolution, and then earned the respect and gratitude from the very people he overthrew? How do you thank a man who modeled for the world the way in which reconciliation can be achieved when the victors and the vanquished see themselves not as winners and losers but as partners in building a new society.
All I have to give is a tip of the hat, a brief pause and a moment to reflect on an example worth remembering. May I be as gracious in my victories, as steadfast in my defeats and my I be worthy of the sacrifices he made on our behalf.
This nation will never again have a TaTa, like Madiba one of thing he said back in 1964 when he was facing the death penalty was
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an idea which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.”
He gave me that equal opportunity, he gave me a free society and he gave me a democratic right for which words cannot describe how grateful I am that his idea back in 1964 is a reality today may his soul rest in peace.
"Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for eternity."
Nelson Mandela 1996.
Hamba kahle Tata.
"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."
One of life’s great lessons is that of humility. Having achieved all he did, surviving the hardship and resistance yet keeping the essence of selfless gain. Nelson Mandela was a true advocate for setting an example for us all. We can only strive to attain such profound characteristics.