Let's Be The Legacy


a true symbol of human greatness

On 18 July, 2018 the UN marked 100 years since Mandela’s birth with a vow to continue the struggle for equality:

Nelson Mandela was a towering global advocate for justice and equality”

"It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done"

“He continues to inspire the world through his example of courage and compassion. Nelson Mandela was held captive for many years. But he never became a prisoner of his past”

“Rarely has one person in history done so much to stir people’s dreams and move them to action”,

"That struggle for equality, dignity and justice continues.”

(Mr. Guterres, UN Sec. Gen.)

“He stands today as a beacon for universal values -- peace, forgiveness, humility, integrity, passion, respect and service,”

Madiba, took the path of resistance and paid the price for it. He's a beacon of courage.

(Forest Whitaker, Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation - UNESCO)

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for justice. "He knew better than anyone that ‘no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones’”,

(Yury Fedotov, Exc Dir UNODC)

“The prophet is no longer with us. But his teachings are. And we need them – now, more than ever”

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa

“He showed us that dialogue and negotiation should be pursued relentlessly – no matter how deep the divides, or strong the hurt,” he said, regretting that “too often we have let peace slip through our fingers. And we have waited until it was gone, to act”.

( Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly,)

The Nelson Mandela International Day annually observed on 18 July, was inaugurated by the UN General Assembly in November 2009, in recognition of his global contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. The General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

The Day Our Icon Was Called Home.

Remembering that fateful day, Wednesday, December 5th 2013

Madiba has departed, but his Hope for the African continent and our common humanity lives on. Ours is to keep that Hope alive.

Truth telling and acknowledgment of wrongdoings is a prerequisite for real reconciliation and healing, and the foundation for building just and sustainable relationships -- Mandela's legacy.

On Wednesday, December 5th, two days after my daughter’s “eleventeenth” birthday, a child whose future looks brighter because of the sacrifice of giants like Madiba, I joined my colleagues of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development at the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber. The Committee, in no uncertain terms, demanded that the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing adheres to the principles of inclusivity, openness and transparency. Guiding principles that were the hallmarks of Madiba the statesman. Our advocacy is for the deliberations on financing the Post-2015 Development Agenda to be rooted in the true, tried and tested practice of multi-stakeholder consultations. And to build on the gains made in the Financing for Development process, since the preparatory conferences in 2001.

During the lunch break of the interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue with the Committee of Experts, Yvonne who has committed herself to a life-long engagement of activism against gender based violence, invited me to an event hosted by the Values Caucus -- Part of the 23rd Annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. There, I witnessed the powerful and enlightening example of using the tools of the arts and storytelling for healing, advocacy and empowerment in the able and professional hands of DeShannon, Sara and Ping They screened a moving documentary film from the Secret Survivors Toolkit.

While waiting for the event to start, Doris and I talked about the follow up to the World Conference against Racism. She updated me on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the unveiling of the ‘Ark of Return’: Telling the stories of 15 million slaves in a UN permanent memorial. She then invited me to join Shulamith, Corann, Lobi and the other members of the NGO Committee on Human Rights’ Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism at the UN Church Center for their monthly meeting. I accepted the invitation and later that day joined a dedicated group of women to deliberate on advancing the broad agenda of the elimination of racism, and to plan the commemoration of the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st. We adopted a working theme: "Human Rights Learning and The Elimination of Racism in the Post-2015 Development Agenda".

On that sad day of March 21 in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, protesting against the apartheid “pass laws.” Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the U.N. General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (Resolution 2142 (XXI)).

At the close of the Sub-Committee meeting while Shulamith was sharing with me stories from her recent visit to Ghana under the auspices of the President of Ghana, and co-opting me to support her Human Rights Cities Program, she paused to look at her cell phone… at that sacred moment we learnt that our icon and Human Rights champion extraordinaire President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had passed away.

Thus begins for us, the post-Mandela era and our renewed quest for closing the dignity gap -- “...Develop a new political culture based on human rights” (Nelson Mandela, 2008). “Amandla! Awethu!”

Let's Be The Legacy -- https://www.nelsonmandela.org/nelson-mandela-100