“In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back to us.” Boyd Varty, a wildlife activist, shares stories of animals, humans and their interrelatedness, or “ubuntu” — defined as, “I am, because of you.” And he dedicates the talk to South African leader Nelson Mandela, the human embodiment of that same great-hearted, generous spirit. In his native South Africa, Boyd Varty builds wildlife corridors to restore the environment and literacy centers to restore the human spirit.
“During my long walk to freedom, I had the rare privilege to visit Londolozi. There I saw people of all races living in harmony amidst the beauty that Mother Nature offers. Londolozi represents a model of the dream I cherish for the future of nature preservation in our country” – Nelson Mandela
But he will be remembered for one quality above all others: his capacity to forgive, and to turn that forgiveness into a visible reconciliation. He had a phenomenal, almost unbelievable, ability to rise above bitterness and rancour, and clearly had made a conscious decision that this was the best route for the liberation of black Africans.
Nelson Mandela, Champion Of Forgiveness
South African leader Nelson Mandela leaves a lengthy list of accomplishments: successfully fighting against apartheid, becoming the first black South African elected to the presidency of that country, being chairman of the African National Congress, winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
But perhaps his greatest and most enduring legacy is his commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Hartford Courant
5:05 p.m. EST, December 5, 2013
What Mandela meant to me: lessons in courage, charisma and forgiveness
Mandela will be remembered most for ending apartheid and for that rarest of human qualities: the incredible ability to forgive those who have wronged them and their people.
What is sometimes forgotten now is that the Nobel laureate, who was once branded a terrorist and at one time believed in armed struggle, not only helped to heal the huge rift that existed between black and white South Africans. The great conciliator and leader of the African National Congress was also able to bring together the disparate warring tribes of South Africa, including the Zulus and their mercurial leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and his secessionist-minded, sometimes violent Inkatha Freedom Party.
The Vancouver Sun
Muhammad Ali’s poignant statement on former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95:
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Mandela. His was a life filled with purpose and hope; hope for himself, his country and the world. He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically. He made us realize, we are our brothers’ keeper and that our brothers come in all colors. What I will remember most about Mr.Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale. His was a spirit born free, destined to soar above the rainbows. Today his spirit is soaring through the heavens. He is now forever free.”
Nelson Mandela will turn 91 on Saturday, a day that will be commemorated world wide as the first internationally recognised ‘Mandela Day’. Madiba will celebrate his birthday in Johannesburg but parties honouring him have been organised across the globe.
The main Mandela Day festivities will take place in New York City, where international stars and dignitaries have been gathering since the start of the week. A star studded concert in Madiba’s honour will be the highlight of a week that many New Yorkers have devoted to community service. All week, a volunteer programme has been running in the city as part of the build up to Madiba’s birthday on Saturday.
People around South Africa plan to spend on Saturday sprucing up neglected schools, distributing food parcels and blankets, and even reading newspapers to the elderly in line with the call for 67 minutes of community service to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday.
“I’m going to spend my 67 minutes reading newspapers to the gogos who live near me,” said a policeman on duty outside Mandela’s home in Houghton. Grade R pupils at Johannesburg’s St Katherine’s School drew giant birthday cards for the former president and would each bring R6.70 to school on Monday to be donated to a project a sister school is saving for. More…