Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, gesture as Mandela walks free from the Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, Cape Town. File picture: AP Photo/Greg English

The release of Honourable Mr Nelson Mandela on 11 February 1990 was a momentous occasion in our history, the lessons invaluable. 

He displayed not an iota of anger, vindictiveness, or desire for revenge even though, in incarceration, he "lost" the best years of his life and in essence, his family. 

He now wielded enormous power but chose development over destruction, reconciliation over retribution, harmony over hate, embrace over exclusion, appreciated the value of unity in diversity, and peace as a way to prosperity. 

He adorned the No. 6 Springbok rugby shirt, included Die Stem in Nkosi Sikelel' i Afrika and retained civil servants from the previous dispensation at great political risk. But he DID it. 

He exhibited a quality of altruistic leadership unseen and unheard of in similar situations of new governance worldwide. 

He was spirituality in practice, a pervading generous spirit heralding glad tidings of hope and opportunity at a time when angst and deep fear could have torn our society apart. 

His personality a calming effect, his kind words, a measure of reassurance, his actions, a living embodiment of walking the talk. He set the standard, we need to emulate. 

It's time to embrace each other, hold hands, share, give freely, think positive thoughts of fellow being and strive to change in ourself what we want changed in society. 

Prayer, spirituality, selflessness and a genuine desire to uplift fellow human is the way to save our country where greed and ego has no place, the race for the uncontrolled acquisition of material possessions, whether fair or foul, a useless endeavour, for what you don't use in your lifetime is not yours.

* Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is the founder of disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers.