Yesterday, the world lost one of its brightest guiding lights – a true revolutionary whose vision for reconciliation and unity galvanized a country and inspired the world. Some knew him as Rolihlahla “the troublemaker”, others respected him as “Madiba”; the world will forever remember the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Driven by his belief in natural and human rights, Mandela dedicated his life to the fight against racism and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Despite the physical and emotional tribulations that he endured during his 27 years of imprisonment, he maintained his commitment to peace; he found the strength to be mentally free; he made decisions that were guided by love and that embraced our common humanity.
It has been said that true charisma comes only from leaders who have made serious sacrifices – sacrifices that demand respect from both enemies and friends1. Mandela’s light was a reflection of his charisma, a light that he shared with all of us. Perhaps, then, his light hasn’t been lost; rather, it is up to all of us to make sure it does not dim.
Our thoughts today are with the family of Madiba, with the people of South Africa and those whose lives were touched by this great human being. We will remember him as an inspiration who fulfilled his purpose and made this world a better place.