Hearing of Mandela’s passing took me back in time, for he’s the one person I’ve always admired other than my mum. I remember reading about him as a little girl and being in awe on hearing how he’d spent decades in prison for the freedom of his people.
My little brain just couldn’t fathom magnanimity, resilience, dedication and iron will like that. And then he was released from prison and here was a man so humble, selfless and with a tremendous capacity to forgive those that oppressed him and his people. He was a representation of gentle steely strength. Truly great human beings like Mandela that influence the world by the essence of their being and everything they represent come along only once in a while. I’m not sure anyone else living today could fill that space for me and everything he represented. RIP Mandela.
I also want to share this TED Talk by Boyd Varty (a South African and friend of Mandela) which was moving and beautiful. Varty talks about the philosophy of ubuntu and our interconnectedness to each other. He defines ubuntu as “I’m because of you.” Communities that live sustainably in close harmony with nature and each other may embody this spirit better. How can we who live in capitalistic and individualistic societies foster the spirit of ubuntu? Perhaps by starting small in our neighborhoods by lending a helping hand and being kind to our neighbors and those we come in contact with in our daily lives.