Can you believe that July is already upon us and the shortest day of the year now behind us? With so many political and developmental issues weighing down on our countries and communities – both locally and internationally – we thought we would take the month of July to celebrate what it means to take one’s circumstances and turn them around to evoke positive change.
And what better reason to do so, than to celebrate a man who stood for just that.
President Nelson Mandela (Madiba as he is fondly known to most) was not only an international icon, he was the father of our nation. With his middle name being “Rolihlahla,” which is Xhosa for “troublemaker,” it is no surprise that our Madiba was the troublemaker who changed the world and he refused to give up in the face of terrible injustice. He dared to believe that he had the power to make a change as he fought apartheid in South Africa, by doing so with peace and love.
With Mandela Day coming up on the 18th of July, the team at Creative Consulting & Development Works have decided that we don’t just want to celebrate the late Madiba on his birthday with our 67-minutes of service… We will dedicate the whole month of July to the spirit of giving back and celebrating his life, and all he stood for and hopefully add to a positive wave of change.
This month, we will be sharing personal stories and thoughts about the late Nelson Mandela and how he has changed and enriched our lives, not only as South Africans, but as human beings too.
Director and founder of CC&DW & if i could… Lindy Briginshaw shared what Nelson Mandela means to her:
“Madiba is such an inspiration. Visiting his cell at Robben Island was a profound and humbling experience. We are so blessed as South Africans to have name him as our first democratic president. He exemplifies great leadership and inspires us with his compassion, humility, loyalty, ethics and a great sense of humour. How we miss him given our current leadership dearth.”
Lindy’s favourite Mandela quotes:
‘There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.’
‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’
‘If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.’
Researcher, Leanne Adams had this to share:
“As long as women are bound by poverty and as long as they are looked down upon, human rights will lack substance.” – Nelson Mandela
“Although he is mainly known for his efforts in helping to end apartheid and healing the scars of a divided nation, his fight for total freedom was also devoted to the empowerment of women. Mandela was one of the first South African leaders who put gender on the agenda by recognising that democratic success rested heavily on the realisation of gender equality and freeing women from all forms of oppression. To further this, Mandela was also responsible for drafting South Africa’s constitution which grants women one of the most comprehensive set of rights in the world. Putting words into action is also something Madiba is remembered for by improving the lives of women through, for example, the introduction of prenatal and postnatal care to mothers in the public health system. Although we are still faced with many challenges in advancing the status of women in our country, Nelson Mandela and the legacy he has left us still remains an inspiration for all working towards social justice.
One of our talented Research & Evaluation interns, Fatimah had this heartwarming memory to share:
“When I was in Grade 4, Mandela came to visit my school. He was in his signature shirt and all of us swarmed around him, trying to get a glimpse of him or sneak in a handshake. He touched my hand and I vowed to never wash that hand again. Although I did take an evening bath that day, there was something very special about being in the presence of an ordinary person that did something extraordinary. For me, he remains a symbol of hope and the human endeavour for fundamentally just progress.”
We are fortunate to have an international research & evaluation intern with us for the next few months all the way from Japan. Koichi had this to add and again shows what an international icon our great Madiba was:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela
“He is the person who overcame the biggest challenge South Africa had at that time. His achievements showed all people that with hope, we could overcome any challenges we would face in the future. My dream is to build a peaceful world. No poverty, no war and everyone is happy. It seems very big challenge. However, with his words, I will do my best to make sure my dream will come true…” said Koichi.
What we lost when he passed away, is not just a man, but a symbol of hope, peace and power. Madiba’s life was a testament to the power of ONE and what ONE person can do even when faced with what looks like indescribable hate. He was remarkable man who made an extraordinary impact on our nation and the world. Let us all take a page out of his book and do as he would – not only this month, but every day.
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