Tribute to Nelson Mandela

"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, then they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."    Nelson Mandela

In on January 28th, 2011, journalist, Charlene Smith, (Mail and Guardian, South Africa)  wrote:

‘In Nelson Mandela, we as a nation felt protected. South Africa, I believe is like an abused child, fearful, angry, always read to lash out, mistrustful, but in Mandela, we found someone who saw our flaws and absolutely loved us and for that he has our eternal devotion. He loved even that which we hated in ourselves.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is our conscience, Mandela is our heart. The question is: how can a nation, blessed with two such remarkable icons, be as self-destructive as South Africa is today?

Nelson Mandela gave up his life so that we could live, so that we could be free. He never emerged from prison, when he walked out of the gates of Victor Verster, he walked into a new prison; a prison of minders and managers, publicists and bureaucrats, organisational apparatchiks, a demanding family … in the gentle, yet firm, love of Graça Machel he found some time and space to be himself, but it was never, ever going to be enough time, enough space.

Madiba, I believe it will be your old friend Walter Sisulu, who will come for you. The two of you will go and sit on a rocky outcrop on Robben Island, bake some perlemoen on a tin-can seashore braai and talk of the good old, bad old days. Finally, you both will be free.

I wish we had the wisdom to honour your legacy, but I fear, we are just us, flawed, damaged and not quite clever enough to realise that what we will lose is not you, but the doors you opened and that we walked by.’

Woking People of Faith honours this man and recognises the enormous legacy he leaves: Love of a people, attentiveness to the invisible and the insignificant, self-sacrifice, integrity, courage, dignity and care.   These are the doors Mandela opened for South Africans but also for people everywhere. These are the doors history shows we most often tend to walk by. We at WPOF humbly remain committed to making a difference because we can. 


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