Anyone who knows me knows I’m proudly South African. Mandela’s passing had a huge effect on me as this country said goodbye to its most cherished soul. I was living in Cape Town at the time & all around me there were Madiba posters & South African flags waving in the streets. One day there was a huge concert to pay tribute to him at the Cape Town Stadium. Madiba has taught me so many lessons. When I think about it, he was the first one who taught me to get involved in my community where I could & work with others to strive for the better.
Getting Involved With Charity
He was the first one who inspired me to help by getting involved with Interact drives, charity fundraisers, Rotary projects & things like that. His leadership excellence & pioneering spirit to make this country a fairer place where there were equal opportunities for all & no discrimination of any kind, stirred in me a pride about where I came from & inspired me to do what I could where I saw help was needed.
One Can Make A Difference
Learning about his life’s story & his part in the struggle highlighted for me the lesson that one person can make a real difference. I truly believe we all have inside us the desire to help.
Helping Others Makes Us Feel The Best
Helping others is what makes us feel the best. I wonder if I do help enough? I wonder if there is ever an “enough”? I feel humbled when I think about him & what he did; how involved he got. I always think there’s more I can do to join in the ongoing effort to reach our goal of a better life for all. Outreach projects I was part of in the recent years really meant so much to me:
The Rotary Family Health Days in 2013:
The Rotary Family Health Days in 2014:
The Little Fighter’s Cancer Trust Drive we did to St Joseph’s Hospital for chronically ill children.
My work with Ubomi Obutsha Community Centre handing out sweets & playing with the children.
Working with The Salvation Army in PE for an anti-human trafficking campaign.
Giving a talk to the students of Engen’s Saturday School at The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University & handing out English dictionaries to them as part of a Rotary Initiative.
Taking His Ideals To Heart
I look to Mandela’s example of helping free this nation of terrible oppression & unnecessary violence during the Apartheid era with such admiration & respect. He is one of my role models. His foremost goal was encouraging a free & democratic society to emerge in a non-violent way. He reached out to the old enemy, repressing any vengeful impulses he might have accumulated during his twenty-seven years in prison, & he did so in the plight to consolidate South Africa’s transition from tyranny to democracy.
Freedom + Fairness
As a result, we have the rule of law, freedom of speech & free & fair elections as the beautiful gifts he has bequeathed this nation. All because he took that first step outside of his comfort zone to help in the fight against Apartheid all those years ago.
His tributes this week have really tugged on my heartstrings as we say goodbye to an icon, a leader & a friend. His legacy for me comes alive most when I see people working together, collaborating with each other in whatever ways they can, to make a real difference in communities.
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
A Rainbow Nation
When I see people working together to promote a free, equal & proud rainbow nation, doing what they can to fix the pitfalls, I become inspired to do the same. In my own small way I do what I can by giving back & getting involved in charitable causes. Mandela taught me that when we put aside our weaknesses & work together, we can make a real difference.
What is Right + Good
When we unify in the higher values of humanity to work together for what is right & good, including helping those who need it most, we feel whole, connected, strong, centered & empowered.When we aren’t afraid to stand up for what we believe in & when we get involved in making an effort, we create meaningful change.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
His legacy includes stepping into who we are, cultivating our strengths, talents, taking a good honest look at our weaknesses & becoming equipped to be efficient & do what we are here to do. I believe this is to help in whatever way we are specifically suited for. Mandela found his purpose in the Apartheid struggle & South African politics, and he rose to meet it during his lifetime.
It takes courage to find the balance between purpose & humility, strength & weakness, support & ambition, & to analyze why we do what we do.
– Tara Stiles
Our purpose is everything & steers our destiny. Look at how one man almost single-handedly steered the destiny of this country. I’ll always honour the memory of a strong & courageous man who loved his country & did what he could with what he had to make a difference. And what a difference he made to the lives of millions!