We are a shattered country today. The most significant individual in South Africa’s history died last night aged 95.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – aka Madiba – born July 18 1918 in the Transkei, transformed the hopes and lives of all South Africans and symbolised freedom in a time of tyrany in apartheid South Africa.
Madiba tirelessly strove to provide the whole nation today with a lasting legacy and a stand for opportunity and equality.
27 years in jail made Mandela a stronger, wiser, and more ambitious man.
In a situation where most would crumble in anger and the search for revenge, Madiba stood strong and his vision became clearer – a vision of free and fair elections and a mission to free his people from the shackles of inequality and disdain.
As the world grieves with us today, US President Barack Obama relayed these words in a White House broadcasted address: “Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed South Africa and moved all of us.”
There is no celebrity like Madiba. Our land has been graced by his presence and duty.
We owe everything to this great man who left us last night with a legacy and opportunity to carry on his work – a work of love, freedom, hope, benevolence and forgiveness.
Mandela’s book, Long Walk To Freedom, was a long and treacherous piece of work, filled with punishment and reprimand. But each step to freedom was a step closer to where we are today. Each step was for each and every one of us as a unified South Africa.
There are not enough words to describe you, Mandela. You are more than a hero! You are alive in our hearts. We promise to uphold your wish of sustaining and developing what you have made.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) joins the entire country and the world, in mourning your passing and grieving in our loss.
Goodbye to a Legend
(Issued by TBCSA, final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva)