The world lost a giant, a giant who fought systemic injustice and discrimination. U.S. President Barack Obama observed appropriately, “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, but let me say to the people of Africa, and young people around the world: You can make his life’s work your own.” The passing of the former South African President might mark the end of a chapter, an arguably dynamic, controversial, and heroic chapter, but it is the passing of the torch to today’s generation to carry on the struggle.
Some things Mandela left behind in his legacy are quotes:
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty exists, there is no true freedom.
Mandela recognized that poverty is a result of the unjust systems people have created. While people are impoverished, they do not experience true freedom. He tirelessly worked to break down Apartheid through challenging the norm, innovating the system, building unconventional liaisons. His enemies were won over as friends. Perhaps the fight against poverty in rural Africa could take a page from Mandela’s challenge against Apartheid. There was a smile that was rooted in an uncrushable spirit, an extended hand that was supported by unwavering belief, and feet willing to get wet and go where the need is the greatest.