Kearsney pays tribute to Former President Nelson Mandela
Kearsney College Trustees, Board of Governors, staff, boys and Old Boys mourn the loss of a world icon, a determined leader and compassionate human being.
Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest and most influential figures of the 20th Century. He raised the consciousness of South Africans by appealing to their higher ideals and values, consistently advocating a peaceful course of action. Despite provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration in South Africa and throughout the world. He was a humble farm boy who became our beloved leader and will forever be remembered.
Mr Mandela's release from prison in February 1990 had been both a highly anticipated and enormously feared event. Many members of the white South African minority were terrified of retribution. Instead of calling for a revolution, Mandela preached reconciliation, and spoke of a Rainbow Nation and the importance of Ubuntu.
The brilliance of Mandela as a peacemaker, a politician and a statesman emerged. He displayed a profound lack of bitterness for a man who spent 27 years as a prisoner of the South African government. He wrote: "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."
Displaying his remarkable willingness to forgive and his commitment to reconciliation, plus his political savvy, in 1995 Nelson Mandela visited Betsie Verwoed, the widow of one of the prime architects of apartheid, and a man who invited his white jailor as a VIP guest to his inauguration as the country's first black president.
In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela described how he felt having been appointed the country’s first democratically elected President. :
“This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. I stand here before you filled with deep pride and joy – pride in the ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, and now the joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops – Free at last! Free at last! I stand before you humbled by your courage, with a heart full of love for all of you. I regard it as the highest honour to lead the ANC at this moment in our history. I am your servant…it is not the individuals that matter, but the collective. This is a time to heal the old wounds and build a new South Africa.”
Mr Mandela continued in his recollections,
“…from the moment the results were in and it was apparent that the ANC was to form the government, I saw my mission as one of preaching reconciliation, of binding the wounds of the country, of engendering trust and confidence. I reminded people again and again that the liberation struggle was not a battle against any one group or colour, but a fight against a system of repression. At every opportunity, I said all South Africans must now unite and join hands and say we are one country, one nation, one people, marching together into the future.”
Nadia Bilchik (CNN Editorial Producer who was born and brought up in South Africa) wrote:
Indeed, the new South Africa that owes its relative peace and prosperity to the transformative vision of Nelson Mandela is still a work in progress. But, whatever the future brings for the Rainbow Nation, Mandela will always be the man who turned a nightmare into a vision, a vision into a dream and a dream into a reality.
Kearsney acknowledges the remarkable role played by Mr Mandela in the history of our nation.
Johnny Clegg wrote Asimbonanga as a tribute to Nelson Mandela. The title means “We have not seen him” and is a regular feature of the Kearsney Choir’s repertoire.
See them perform it in 2010.
Whilst the Kearsney community grieves the passing of Madiba, we celebrate an extraordinary life and a human being who touched the lives of millions worldwide.
We invite members of the Kearsney family (Board members, staff, Old Boys, boys, parents and friends) to submit tributes, anecdotes or messages which will be uploaded onto the Kearsney website, Facebook and Twitter.
OR Facebook or Twitter.