In April this year, Louise Mensch wrote: “Pygmies of the left so predictably embarrassing yourselves, know this: not a one of your leaders will ever be globally mourned like her.” She was, of course, referring to a woman who divided opinion, an entire country, and promoted grotesque inequality; and a woman, who, in fact, labelled Nelson Mandela a terrorist.
Yet Nelson Mandela is the man that did much more than promote; but lived, breathed and embodied equality, respect, courage, tenacity, drive, determination, humility, grace, peace, and kindness. One of the greatest statesman to have ever lived, he is one of a handful of people who was genuinely loved by almost everyone on the planet. His portrait is one of the most iconic images of the 20th Century and his profound legacy will live on long after. He was the soul and heartbeat of an entire nation.
At the time, I didn’t really understand anything about his release from prison, but I do remember it, just like I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. Over time, I learned about what he did, what he stood for and what he fought against. I will make sure my son George learns about his life, about his struggle and about his legacy, but more importantly, I hope that through me he will take inspiration from the principles by which Mandela lived his life. And he will be a greater person for it.
There are many great sayings attributed to him, but my personal favourite is this: “‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Thank you for being part of this world. RIP.