Yesterday was Nelson Mandela Day….I salute and thank you for your contribution to this world and my life.
Madiba had a big influence on my life. I’m South African so he was not a distant figure in some faraway world…he was someone I grew up in the news on a regular basis. I eventually witnessed his release in 1994…and with that his incredibly positive influence on all South Africans, and the world.
He was a man who brought us all together and gave us hope, we saw ourselves as a miraculous rainbow nation, we won the world cup rugby (1995) and for a while, SA was flying high. He had so many complex issues to deal with, so many old dumbarse mindsets …conservatives and radicals alike….he was a breath of fresh air, not only for SA but for the world. I am not someone who has heroes but Mr Mandela is amongst a handful of people I regard with great respect and admiration to this very day.
From my perspective the biggest thing he taught me was the power (and importance) of forgiveness…it sets you free in so many ways…you have to genuinely become a better person to move through bitterness and anger…it is one of the hardest things to do (and I still struggle)….and not doing it is the cause of so much deeply hurtful suffering worldwide…wars, feuds, racism etc…it feeds a cycle of destruction. If Madiba could forgive then so can you and I, work at it…it will set you free.
My first book The Old Man and The Fat Ginger Cat addresses this forgiveness issue in an easy-going children’s story, …..and my soon to be released second book addresses the hardship of being separated from loved ones….Finding Papa Eagle…something that affects many families (military, offshore workers, prisoners, construction crews etc..) Teaching kids at an early age to forgive and move on is something I am convinced will bring good into this world….not on the grand scale of Mandela but it aligns nicely with what he taught me, and I am sure would make him happy.
Take some time to honour Mandela and what he tried so hard to teach us all….go browse some of his quotes, I’m sure you’ll soon appreciate there is still a great deal he can teach you.
God bless Africa and all its people.