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.