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Nothing's impossible“It always seems impossible, until it is done.”

July 18, 2020, 7:38 p.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 667 views)

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Nelson Mandela's staunch efforts against apartheid, racism, and social injustice rightly radiate far beyond the continent of Africa. He is a global icon who has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African. His life has been an inspiration to the world. Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honor of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela's birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. Mandela found a cause worth fighting for & passionately persevered to oppose the policies of his country's white minority government, Madiba led a non-violent action against apartheid in South Africa. It was a choice that landed him in prison for 27 years. Finally, he emerged from incarceration to become the first black president and was also the oldest head of state in South Africa's history, taking office at the age of seventy-five. Nelson Mandela said "I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended."

If Madiba taught us anything, it was to build our lives and work around a noble cause. When you become engaged in something you deeply believe in, your energy rises and you become a magnet for people who share the same convictions. Adapt your strategies and tactics but remain faithful to the cause.

Strong-willed and determined, Nelson Mandela never cowered. He vehemently fought for what he believed in, but he was also humble and kind. “You mustn’t compromise your principles, but you mustn’t humiliate the opposition,” he said. “No one is more dangerous than one who is humiliated.” Madiba understood that you can’t make peace with your enemy if you aren’t willing to work with them and treat them with dignity. Madiba reached across enemy lines and extended a hand because ending right was more important than being right. By inviting his captors to work with him to bring about the positive change he demonstrated an incredible level of integrity for the cause and a remarkable capacity to forgive.

In 1993, Nelson Mandela was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with his former adversary, president FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid leader. The two leaders were a symbol of collaboration and compromise for bringing a peaceful termination to apartheid and for laying the foundation for a new democratic South Africa.

Madiba understood that if he was going to lead his nation out of racial discrimination and into a peaceful democracy he would have to “be the change.”Desmond Tutu called Nelson Mandela a moral colossus and a global icon of forgiveness and reconciliation.His famous lines " I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it" sums up the essence of his life. Madiba believed in empowering women in all walks of life & said that "Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression"

With a deep commitment to justice, human rights and fundamental freedom, a profound belief in the equality and dignity of every woman and man, relentless engagement for dialogue and solidarity across all lines and divisions., Nelson Mandela was a great statesman, a fierce advocate for equality.

In times of turbulence, Madiba shows us the power of resisting oppression, of justice over inequality, of dignity over humiliation, of forgiveness over hatred.

There are so many things that one can do to take forward Madiba's legacy to make the world a better place for humanity, even during this coronavirus pandemic to make each day a "Mandela day". What you do not need in your house is valuable to someone else. Donate blood, food, money, clothes, medical equipment, masks, sanitizers, look upon your friends to find out whether they are okay, offer your professional services to those in need, plant trees to protect the environment.

Mandela believed that "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". With a grinding halt to education in schools due to the COVID pandemic, help to donate resources that will support online learning, access to the internet, volunteer to teach students online, create online events to help children participate & discover their creative potential, support teachers in this tough time.

"Let there be work, bread, salt and water for all"...was what Nelson Mandela believed in& we can all contribute to this ideal.

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