Mandela Day

I am not celebrating Mandela Day today.

Mandela Day began as a concept with the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. The basic idea being that Mandela spent 67 years trying to make the world a better place, so we should spend 67 minutes trying to do the same.

Nelson Mandela was one of the great people of our time. I remain in awe of his capacity to forgive. If we all emulated his example just a fraction our world would truly be a better place.

But Mandela Day falls on 18 July and the thing is that 18 July has been a significant day in our family for far longer than the Mandela Day. 18 July is also my dad’s birthday.

I could write the story which tells of the way he, as a judge, had the courage to stand up to a government which had little interest in justice, morality or truth. But perhaps the greater story is that of a man who moved country and reestablished himself at the age of 65.

Thirteen years later my dad has a new legacy. He has made a significant contribution and he continues to work effectively and productively.

My parents created a new life for themselves. There is little talk of what might have been or of the pain that was. There is simply an embracing of what is today.

That is a legacy worth celebrating, and a model worth emulating.

I am not celebrating Mandela day today, because today I choose to honour a man who has had a far greater impact on my life.

6 thoughts on “Mandela Day

  1. What a beautiful testimony to an undoubtedly good man of great courage. Both men celebrated this day, in your family and in the Southern African family, have been so: men who have shown their mettle commendably. Hope it’s a happy one for Blackies near and far!

  2. Hello Maggie. good to hear from you. And such inspiring thoughts. Iremember still one of your jokes: your father was the only white judge in Zimbabwe and he was called Black!

    Amazing how Mugawbe has survived all these years – I saw recently on TV and he spoke well – physically, that is. I suppose there are few people in todays world who have such a terrible record for human rights violations, and yet there he is, alive & well at 90! How terrible. People like your father will one day stand out as the true heroes of Zimbabwe.

    best wishes

    Sean Purcell

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