“Thank you Madiba” is what I like to say, but these are the most inadequate words to show my gratitude to one of the most extraordinarily humble, forgiving, compassionate, and loving human beings I have known in my lifetime. He relentlessly fought for the freedom of millions from the Apartheid system in South Africa, lost his own freedom for 27 years in the process, and on release from Robben Island he spoke about forgiveness and reconciliation, rather than hatred, revenge and retribution.
On the 11th February 1990, only hours after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela spoke these words from the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall:
I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.
I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.
On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe, who have campaigned tirelessly for my release.
These are the poignant words of a great leader, who in my humble opinion is so much more than an activist, freedom fighter, the first president of a democratic South Africa, husband, father, and grandfather. Tata Madiba is a man of integrity and profound wisdom, a human being who made so many sacrifices and endured great hardship, but at the same time shows boundless kindness and humility.
Tata may your legacy continue to inspire many, following your mission and philosophy in creating a fairer and more peaceful world.
Thank you Tata, we love, respect and honour you. We may not have you with us for much longer, but you will always be with us in spirit and your memory will life on for many generations to come.