On this, Nelson Mandela Day, we remember the Father of our nation. We give back 67 minutes of our time to others in need – in his memory, to keep his legacy alive. With that signature shuffle, calm demeanor and a smile that endeared him to all; Madiba was beloved by all, he was a giant on the worlds stage. But to South Africans he represented the best of humanity and what we all aspired to be.
Today Mr Mia looks back at the lessons he learned from his friend, Tata Madiba, with quotes and anecdotes, and what we can do going forward to ensure that his legacy is one that lives forever.
- NEVER GIVE UP
“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.
Madiba spent the better part of adult life fighting for a free, fair and democratic South Africa. 27 years he spent on Robben Island, and after his release, he carried South Africa through its first democratic election. After his term, he spent the rest of his life tirelessly campaigning for peace and equality.
- OUR FAILURES SPEAK VOLUMES ABOUT OUR CHARACTER
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”.
When all is said and done, when the milestones of your life stretch out before your eyes, it won’t be the successes that define your character. It will, as Madiba said, be the way you responded to failure and never quit.
- KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Change can be met with resistance from people who fear it. Or who don’t understand it. There are few things more effective as an impetus for change than knowledge — people can’t fight for something if they don’t understand what they are fighting for. The premise of knowledge and always learning more was something very close to Madiba’s heart and one which he always encouraged.
- YOU CAN DO ANYTHING
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Mandela’s simple sentiment is a refreshing, much needed reminder. You can do it. Anyone can, as he reminds us: “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
- BE KIND, ALWAYS
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”.
Often in today’s society, kindness and compassion are often mistaken for weakness? And that there are smart people who attempt to dumb themselves down so as not to be branded “nerdy” or “brainy?” As Madiba always pointed out, being smart and being kind make a person a force to be reckoned with.
- LOVE TRUMPS HATE EVERY TIME
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”.
It could have been so easy, and so justified for Madiba to have chosen to become bitter after being imprisoned for nearly three decades. Instead, he rose above the anger to speak out about the healing power of love. He extended his hand to the very people who took half of his life away, and with that became a shining example to humanity that when you love, you live.
Tata Madiba lives on in our hearts forever, and every year when we come together to remember just how much he taught us, it humbles me every time. What will you be doing for your 67 minutes?
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