Following the death of Nelson Mandela on Thursday, my Facebook newsfeed was flooded with inspirational quotes uttered by Mandela during his life, many shared by friends I had not known to ever mention their concern about solving global poverty. I was surprised, and also, unfortunately, cynical.
Were they just doing it to direct some attention through Mandela towards themselves? Or were these the quotes which, unknown to me, they had actually lived by for years prior to the day of his death? Were they words which they believed in so deeply that they had to share them with everyone? Or was this just normal Facebook behaviour – something which I still hadn’t managed to evolve to accept or participate in?
For whatever reason, it bugged me. Because I wanted to share Nelson Mandela’s words too, here, on this blog, with you. And maybe I was afraid that if I did, some cynical, Facebook-novice individual like myself would judge me badly for trying to steal attention. Which I am not. So if you’re reading this, I do hope you won’t. Judge me that is.
Nelson Mandela gave Rissa and I the conviction to start this blog, and to choose the life and career paths we have. Nelson Mandela is the ideological foundation behind the formation of a bazillion (at least!) non-profit organisations which tackle poverty and inequality in the world. Nelson Mandela is one of those individuals whose achievements, tenacity, and integrity in life is so astounding as to simultaneously make me feel ashamedly inadequate AND seemingly invincible as an individual human being.
And for the first time in my life, I am stopping to feel thankful for all the good that he has done in this world, and all the good that his actions and words will continue to do even now that he is gone. IF they continue to be heard and heeded, that is….
So to all those people who shared the words of Nelson Mandela in the last few days, no matter what reason you chose to do it, I’m thankful to you too! I hope you continue to be inspired by them and I’d love to hear what Nelson Mandela meant to you.