“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, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
~ Written by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Born in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province on July 18th, 1918, Nelson Rolihlahia Mandela died of a lung infection on December 5th, 2013 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg surrounded by his family. He was 95 years of age.
His death was announced by the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. On December 6th President Zuma announced a national mourning period of ten days, with the main event being an official memorial service to be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on the 10th of December 2013.
Within South Africa, Mandela was widely considered to be “the father of the nation”, and “the founding father of democracy”, being seen as “the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one”. In 2004, Johannesburg granted Mandela the freedom of the city, and the Sandton Square shopping centre was renamed Nelson Mandela Square, after a Mandela statue was installed there. In 2008, another Mandela statue was unveiled at Groot Drakenstein Correctional Centre, formerly Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, standing on the spot where Mandela was released from the prison.
He has also received international acclaim. In 1993, he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”. In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, July 18, as “Mandela Day”, marking his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. It called on individuals to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Mandela had been a part of the movement.
Awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Order of Canada, he was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen. The last recipient of the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union, and first recipient of the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, in 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna Award from the government of India and in 1992 received Pakistan’s Nishan-e-Pakistan. In 1992 he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused the award, citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time but later accepted the award in 1999. Elizabeth II awarded him the Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John and the Order of Merit.
Across the world, Mandela came to be seen as “a moral authority” with a great “concern for truth”. Considered friendly and welcoming, Mandela exhibited a “relaxed charm” when talking to others, including his opponents. Although often befriending millionaires and dignitaries, he enjoyed talking with their staff when at official functions. In later life, he was known for looking for the best in everyone, even defending political opponents to his allies, though some thought him too trusting of others.
In late 1996 when Mandela was asked by friends if he was religious, Mandela explained he was a Methodist but he felt at ease in any house of prayer.
With love and respect, I dedicate today’s post to Mr. Mandela who has deeply inspired me throughout my life, as well as countless others around the world. He will always be remembered and will live on forever in our hearts. ~Gina