Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Honouring My Hero Nelson Mandela

Monday was the 93rd birthday of my greatest living hero, Nelson Mandela.

Tributes poured in from all over the world, and South Africans celebrated by singing songs for him, and  performing small acts of kindness.

It's a day when people in South Africa try a little kindness — 67 minutes' worth — in honor of the 67 years that Mandela worked for equality in the African nation, from 1942 until his retirement from public life in 2009.

His website suggested 67 ways you can help change the world.

They are all good ideas, but 67 minutes, or even a whole day, seem to me far too puny to honour a giant like Mandela.

I admire him for so many reasons. But it's for helping an angry, sometimes violent, bullied teenager understand that seeking revenge for what others might have done to you is not the way to go, that I am most grateful.

As Sebastien said: "He could have hanged a racist from every tree in South Africa. He had every reason to demand revenge for all the years his enemies stole from him. But he was better than them so he didn't."

So now I try to fight injustice in different, better, more peaceful ways, to help keep his legacy alive.

And try to become a better person.

One way to carry on his legacy is to live by his example. Take a few minutes to examine prejudices you may have. Make a personal resolution to let go of them. Encourage the people in your life do the same.

Speak out against injustice when you see it. Don't accept prejudice. Learn to recognize bullying and harassment.

Today I set out to hand out some chilled bottles of water to the homeless in my neighbourhood, because it was brutally hot. The mission was a complete failure. The homeless weren't there, thank goodness. And I had to drink half the water to keep from passing out myself. Duh.

But it doesn't matter. It's the thought action that counts. Tomorrow is another day.

And for me Mandela Day is every day.

Happy Birthday Nelson.

I wish you could live forever...

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