Friday, July 5, 2013

Our Tribute to Nelson Mandela


At a time when a whole nation, and indeed most of the world, awaits, hope against hope, for positive news of a Modern Day icon we at River Bend Lodge wish to pay our own tribute to Nelson Mandela.

And so, on behalf of all of us, I have been asked to write something which encapsulates a little bit of something that all of us feel and the debt of gratitude we owe the man.

If I were asked to use just one word which I thought was his lasting legacy it would be ‘Forgiveness’. He not only forgave….but in forgiving he averted a situation which could have lead to catastrophic loss of life, which in turn, would have created a lasting legacy of ‘unforgiveness’ much like we see in the Middle East today.

Experience, we are told, is how we learn. And if we learn anything from the experience of apartheid it should be how not to do things….how NOT to govern. Nelson Mandela came out of a 27 year imprisonment and the first thing he did was to Forgive, and by this action showed us all in no better manner than by his action….how we should behave. He stood by his famous words, uttered before he was imprisoned and quoted below.

"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." The Rivonia Trial

And so, as we prepare for life in South Africa without our revered leader, let us dwell a while on two more of his many famous quotes. Let us reflect the legacy of Nelson Mandela and apply what he is saying here to make South Africa a better place, which is what he lived for and will die for. Let us, in the same spirit of humility and forgiveness, and by having experienced the ‘way we should not live’, apply ourselves to upholding and reflecting the great legacy which will be left to us as a nation and to make this nation great which the very epitome of his legacy.

“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.” - Long Walk to Freedom.

In applying experience, from this quote we learn how not to indoctrinate our children.

"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another…"
Nelson Mandela, Inaugural Address, Pretoria 9 May 1994.
And from this quote….it is how not to govern!

We thank you for the enormous sacrifice you made and we will endeavour to reflect your legacy by our actions and our contribution to a better society and country….one which you would be proud to be the most influential contributor to.

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