Thursday 13 June

SECTION27 staff have written about what Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela meant for them personally in the aftermath of the passing of South Africa’s greatest son.

SECTION27 staff tributes to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

On this day I celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela. The quote below has inspired me in many ways and has served as a reminder. Activism in South Africa must continue until we reach the ideal that Tata Mandela dedicated, with many others, his life to.

“During my life, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. 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 live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an idea which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  – Thoko Madonko

What Madiba meant to me:

Consistently conducting yourself with dignity and quiet strength is more powerful than anger can ever be.

If you believe against all odds but with true conviction that you can make the world a better place, you will. – Naett Atkinson

Madiba reminds me the struggle is now: here to be felt and built. Some with us today walked with him not long ago. I put my hand out – these friends, soldiers, brothers and sisters in struggle – touch, that’s how we build. The ones around us, justice comes only by them. The gogos we pass on the street – rich, poor, bright  – his peers. His dream was big, there’s work to do. Near people, comrades – here’s my hand. – John Stephens

We will never forget the things that Madiba has taught us, and we will never comprehend the level of strength that it took him to give us a better South Africa. I see him as one of the most influential, courageous and profound men that has ever lived and I am proud to have been alive in the time of his legacy.

“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.” – Nelson Mandela

Thank you and Hamba kahle, Tata Madiba. – Drooti Kala

For me Nelson Mandela embodied the struggle of generations of people in fighting for inclusivity and a non-racial South Africa at a great cost. His sense of self-sacrifice is something that leaders today would do well to try and emulate. Trying to put his role in fighting the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS into words detracts from it. To come out and speak openly about the cause of death of a loved one in those times took courage and is a testament to his heightened sense of justice, human dignity and non-discrimination. His insistence on being seen as a man and not as a demi-god despite his achievements speaks to how humble he was. The world is no doubt poorer today without him.

His passing is also a time to reflect on the society today. Is it what he and his generation envisaged? How do we get to a nation where one’s race and/or gender are not inhibiting features that stymie the potential inherent in all of us? Who will be the moral voice of a generation in the same way he was?

Benjamin Pogrund asked the question ‘how can a man die better?’ in relation to Robert Sobukwe. This question can also be posed in relation to utata. Lala ngokuthula. Gone but not forgotten. May we learn from your example. – Ngqabutho Mpofu

Nelson Mandela showed us how extraordinary the human sprit can be. Wherever in the world you are from he is an inspiration. To learn of his story, to appreciate his conduct through incredible adversity and to read his words is humbling and inspiring. He was a reminder of what is most important in life and to cherish and never lose sight of the value of the many things we take for granted. David McNaught.

This morning I left home as the sun was rising. I passed several women, gogos on their way to work – some nannies, some cleaners, some caregivers – we caught one another’s eye and shared a sad, knowingly smile. Made me realise again that Madiba showed us that we are not defined by a Government, but this country is defined by what he gave us – compassion, passion, love, humility, forgiveness – a greatness and sense of justice that nobody can take from us. Thank you Tata for what you taught me. – Anso Thom

Dear Mandela

I am happy and sad to say good bye to my father, he was so wonderful to be in jail for such a long time for us, I know things won’t be the same anymore without him. You will be missed TATA. REST IN PEACE.

Phindile Mlotshwa

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