People across generations, countries, races, religions and creeds have all been experiencing Mandela’s passing in their own way. There has been an outpouring of respect, grief and remembrances across every communications channel across the globe.
There have been stories from those who were a part of the struggle, who lived through that era and watched Mandela’s release and felt the waves of change crash over the country. There has been whispered memories from those who were children when this happened, who felt the changes as rumbles through their parents and saw the introduction of new faces of all races to their schools and grew up with friends and families of mixed races and silently knew in the deepest part of them that this was because of a great man named Mandela.
And then there is the generation who have never known a world without the changes Mandela brought about – this was the generation that Mandela fought for, a generation that has no living memory of their own of separation and segregation.
Mandela taught us that without forgiveness, freedom is nothing – instead of becoming angry and seeking revenge on those that treated him as “less than” his whole life, he realised he had to let go of it or he would remain a prisoner – something many of today’s leaders, and every one of us, could stand to learn.
Since 2008, people across the world have celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day) on the 18th of July, his birthday. This day celebrates the idea that every single person has the power to make an impact and change the world in unprecedented ways; Mandela was the proof of this.
I believe that the best way to honour the memory of this great man and everything he did, is to live every day as if it were Mandela Day. He left us with so many lessons on how to be better, on how to lead, on how to bring about change through powerful belief, informed ideas and positive action; I believe it is our responsibility to aspire to live our lives in line with all he taught us and to continue to share his legacy by leading by example as he did for so long.
The world is so much richer for having had you in it and remains rich even in your passing, because of the abundance of all you have left behind. Farewell Madiba.