Johannesburg - The journalists at Business Report have shared their memories of former president Nelson Mandela...
Nelson Mandela was a great leader and a great president. While the images of other world leaders are tarnished by greed, sex scandals and the endless pursuit of power, Mandela stood in sharp contrast.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others,” he said.
In my cynical world, he gave hope.
I am humbled by what Mandela stood for and how his sense of purpose translated into action.
Mandela was heard and his words will reverberate in my mind for ever more. When growing up during the dark, grey days of apartheid, there was only shame at being a South African. Mandela made me feel patriotic for the first time and gave me a sense of what it was to be proud of a country and a nation. He gave me back belief and I thank him for that.
Apart from learning from history, I have no personal memories of how painful apartheid was for black people in South Africa. But I do have a lasting memory of how my life and that of my family and my rural community was transformed by the values and changes Tata Mandela brought to South Africa.
Today as a young black woman in a democratic society where I have opportunities and choices generations before me never had, I know the only way to repay Madiba is by facilitating the long livelihood of his legacy. Forgiveness, peace, hard work and education are the values I and we as South Africans should promote. Long live the spirit of Madiba.
Tata Madiba, your portrayal of love has covered a multitude of the sins committed against you. As the world mourns you, I bathe in the freedom you gave me to celebrate your life and mine in this great land, free from struggle, free to choose to live my life mirrored by yours. Mandela – the reason freedom is a reality. Viva Madiba Viva!
Personal Assistant to the Editor
Nelson Mandela and the many other people who fought and sacrificed for a democratic South Africa, gave me the life I could only dream of as a child: the opportunity to love who I want, live the life I choose and raise my children in a free country. I feel immense gratitude for the sacrifices he and others made.
My deepest condolences to Graça Machel and the Mandela family.
Nelson Mandela was an amazing leader whose courageous struggle and magnetic personality touched the hearts of people around the world. Among Madiba’s greatest sacrifices was to spend 27 years in jail in the fight against apartheid and freedom. His ability to forge a united, prosperous South Africa out of a tortuous, divided history was among his greatest achievements. May Madiba rest in peace and his spirit and example live on forever in the decades and centuries to come.
Hamba Kahle Nelson Mandela. We all love you
Tat’uMandela thank you for the sacrifices you made for our beloved country. South Africa is eternally indebted to you Madiba, Dalibunga, Yem-Yem!
As we continue on this journey, you will become our bright shining star.
Your counterparts Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Raymond Mhlaba and Govan Mbeki are waiting to embrace you.
The country and continent is a better place, and you will continue to live on in our hearts. Rest in peace.
Tata Madiba, your ability to forgive and remain humble will live with me as a free citizen of this country. You have walked the talk of reconciliation and no one can take that away from you. You will remain one of my many African struggle heroes. May Africa follow in your footsteps for the sake of peace and prosperity in our land. Viva Tata! Viva!
You fought a good fight with all your might till the end. Now rest in peace with your comrades Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba. You were an inspiration to my generation and although we did not know you physically at the time, what was recounted to us gave us the inspiration to carry on where you had left off.
Wow! What a personal sacrifice offered by Tat’uMandela and his cadres – both departed and present – and their families, those celebrated and others privately feted.
I am humbled that someone was willing to set aside precious seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years and decades to a cause that transpired into a generational gift of freedom for me and so many South Africans.
That men and women recognised and embraced their divine purpose in order that destinies may be fulfilled is in itself a miracle from God.
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people,” uTat’oMkhulu once said.
Halala Madiba, halala!
Tata, you will forever be in our hearts and minds.
You taught the world to love and to forgive through your actions, inspiring people to be the best versions of themselves. May your memory and spirit continue to inspire us even in your absence.
While on a trip with president Mandela to south-east Asia, fellow journalist Angela Quintal and I were lurking outside the dining hall at Raffles in Singapore. The president spotted us outside, invited us in and introduced us to a totally baffled prime minister as: “My journalist friends from South Africa.” He also spoke to all the waitering staff. He later invited us into the sultan of Brunei’s sitting room, much to the surprise of the sultan!
Cape Bureau Chief
I thank God for you having lived in my lifetime. My grandkids will only hear a story from me. You may be gone in this physical world but your beliefs will always live in us.
Tata Mandela, you have touched our lives in so many ways. We are what we are today because of your unrivalled statesmanship. Even outside South Africa, your hand has touched many lives, and the greatest consolation is that the seeds that you sowed will give rise to a new generation – the Madiba generation – dedicated to follow in your giant footsteps.
Deputy Chief Sub
When the drum stopped beating, the country stood still in shock. Though expected, your passing will forever leave a huge gap that can only be filled by following in your teachings of forgiveness, humility and good governance. You have finished your long walk now; ours is to strive to keep your dream alive. RIP chief commander.
So even in his death Madiba moved nations. In it, Obama shook the hand of his enemy. Here I am doing what the rest of the world is doing – writing a piece on a man who no one says bad things about. My hand is guided by not only my own experience of the father of this nation but by that of the many people who only spoke good about him. Interestingly enough, a comet is spotted in the week of his death… he must have taken his place in the sky as a star. The feared terrorist did not come to take away our homes and plunge the country into darkness – rather he came to lead us into peace. Like all the names written in the stars – Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa – he too had to move on. We salute you Tata.
Politicians and those of their ilk with pretensions to lead are always disappointing; their personal flaws, their venality and outright self-serving dishonesty invariably discolours the image they seek to project.
Nelson Mandela was an exception to the rule and that’s what makes him so special and his loss so painful.
My first meeting with him went from triumph to disaster to transcendence as, without trying, he taught me an unforgettable lesson.
At the start of the ANC’s first election campaign in late 1993, I was assigned by the Sunday Times to follow Nelson Mandela as he went to the hustings.
The first chance to meet him was at Radio 702 where he was to do his first radio talk show. If I got there early, I was promised 15 minutes for an interview.
Too good to be true, I thought as he greeted me warmly and we chatted easily. When an elderly tea lady appeared carrying a tray, she took one look at the president-to-be and was overcome, frozen in awe, tears streaming down her face.
Without a word Mandela stood up, took the tray and hugged her close as she sobbed into his chest.
My interview was over, but I was privileged to witness a great man instinctively give comfort and love to another human. For him, humility and compassion seemed as natural as breathing.
Tata Madiba, your path was an example to all of a life well lived: keeping a playful sense of humour amid an arduous struggle, emerging without rancour after being stripped of the best years of your manhood, and maintaining humility and compassion while occupying the highest office in the land. And all the while you remained grounded enough to recognise your flaws.
The world is poorer for your passing, but richer for the example you set. May we forever strive to live up to that standard. Condolences to your nearest and dearest, and thanks to them for sharing you with us.
Your epitaph needs not be carved on your gravestone. It is the legacy you leave this country about issues such as human rights, tolerance, forgiveness and nonracialism and that made you the global icon you are. The biggest tribute South Africa’s leaders and citizens can pay you is to examine their own consciences and ensure they are living up to your high moral ideals.