As we celebrate the eventful life of Nelson Mandela, his many achievements and awards we must ensure that the lessons he taught us do not die along with him. As a 90’s child Mandela’s struggle was something I never claimed to know much about. He was someone I read about, and saw on the TV. I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness him in action. Nonetheless, I like so many people all over the world learnt so much from him. It is inevitable that we will all continue to learn from him as his legacy lives on.

Nelson Mandela symbolizes possibility. He believed that it was possible to end apartheid and he was successful in achieving that goal. Even when world leaders such as Margret Thatcher labelled him a “terrorist,” while he was imprisoned he didn’t stop believing that a free society would come into existence. Furthermore the fact that he was succeeded democratically, and he is not South Africa’s richest man is another symbol –especially here in Africa- that it is possible to be in politics for the good of the people and not for personal enrichment.

He inspires us to be philanthropic. In today’s rough economic times, he constantly reminded us that there is always someone worse off. Through Mandela I learnt that as human beings it is our duty to help those who cannot help themselves. His foundation, the Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund aims at making life easier for orphans and AIDS victims. “We owe our children – the most vulnerable citizens in any society – a life free from violence and fear,” is the guiding principle behind the foundation.

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness. Madiba, was a man of peace. Despite the fact that throughout the struggle all Madiba ever wanted for his country was peace. Part of the oath that members had to pledge to when joining the ANC was that they would never knowingly harm another living human being. This was strengthened further when he pursued the path of reconciliation for his nation rather than retribution, which is something that not all human beings have the ability to do.

As we say celebrate his life, I hope we can all honor his death by continuing to practice many of the lessons he left us with.


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