“My enemies called me a terrorist yesterday but when I came out of jail those same enemies embraced me. I tell them I was called a terrorist yesterday but today I am admired by the very people who said I was one.” - Nelson Mandela.
It's July and aside from the excitement of the recent races, people are gathering to remember Nelson Mandela - the father of our nation - on his birthday, which is coincidentally my birthday as well.
Over the past few days, I have received numerous letters of appeal from organisations and schools for blankets, food, clothing, money and time amongst other things.
It's the spirit of ubuntu at its highest but there is another need I see every single day, which far surpasses the necessity for the material and other superficial needs.
As a nation we are broken but where does that brokenness start? Every day I get asked for help to heal a broken person.
People have lost their sense of humanity. Aside from the savage crime, there is monumental abuse, disrespect, cowardice, backstabbing, corruption, etc.
Every day we continue to break and strip each other down for a false sense of superiority. Trust is no longer real, as even the people who are meant to be the closest to you and love you the most, are the first to destroy you.
There is an unending lust for power, recognition, status, financial gain and social glory, and I have to wonder - are the people who break us one day and then embrace us the next day still not the enemy?
Is this what Madiba meant by freedom? I think back of him and remember when he said: “There is no easy way to walk to freedom anywhere. Many of us will have to pass through the valley of death again and again before we reach the mountain top of our destinies.”
And that is why this birthday I am on a drive not for something that lasts 67 minutes or only on July 18.
The man we are celebrating and remembering fought first for every single person who felt broken, robbed, abused and defeated. Put it all together and he fought for the spirit of a nation, who had stopped believing in themselves and believed they had reached the end. He reminded them it's not the end and nothing is impossible until it's done.
For every person feeling like you have reached a point of no return, who feels life has defeated you, who feels you have nothing to offer the world, who have been made to feel like you have no purpose, who have been violated, abused, beaten, defamed, broken and left with wounds deeper than your soul can carry, remember a robber never steals from an empty jewellery shop.
They target the ones who have the most value. So when you feel you are being abused time and again and people or life is taking everything from you, it's because you are a treasure and you have the greatest value.
And I know - believe it or not - that people may have made you feel like you have no worth and that you are completely crumpled and damaged and useless but despite how crumpled and dirty a R10 or even a R200 note is, it doesn't lose it's value and treasure never does either.
So let us for a moment in remembering Madiba, remind us of the advice our uBaba Madiba gave us.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that you are living. It's the difference we have made to the lives of others which will determine the significance of our own lives.”
Now, you will read that and think you have never made a difference to anyone and most times it's because you are comparing yourself to the colossal impacts other people have made, like Madiba.
But no two people are the same and we all can't make the same grand impact. However, we can make just one small one.
Let's start with believing in ourselves and our strengths first. Then uBaba told us: “There is nothing like going back to a place that remains unchanged to find ways in which you yourself have altered.”
That means however stuck you feel in the same situation, understand that every single moment you are in it, you are growing and changing, altering and developing a strength you never had before.
Everything will build even when you feel like it is actually breaking you. Don't wait for the world to validate you. You don't need it.
All you need is to believe anything is possible. If a farm lad from Qunu could become a world icon, nothing stops you. We are all human.
We all fall and we all make mistakes but like uBaba Madiba said: “Do not judge on how many times you have fallen but how you get back up.”
It's okay to sometimes lead from the back and let others believe they are in the front. So on this auspicious day, where we remember the birth of a legend, know you too are one.
And like he said: “We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines of this country, who sacrifice every single day in so many ways in our fight to be free.”
That hero and heroine means you too.
Break the chains of brokenness and build the legend that is in you.
* Tash Reddy is an entrepreneur, motivational writer and speaker, and the founder of Widowed South Africa.