“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
Today is Mandela Day, a day to reflect on Mandela’s work towards peace and democracy across South Africa. More than just pondering a thought, Mandela Day has become a catalyst for action, established on the belief that each one of us has the power to impact, make a difference and change the world.
We have a long way to go. To denounce injustice cannot lead to a transformation of mindsets alone but our daily decisions and actions can. Mandela Day is a reminder that that responsibility now lies in our hands, not in the hands of our government or leaders.
Graca Machel, the widow of Nelson Mandela put it far more eloquently than I could: “Mandela Day is a reminder that any one of us has the power to take initiative and drive transformation. Let us not look at Mandela Day as an event that we will be part of every year. We need to look at it as a pledge for the whole year that goes beyond one’s daily activities. Decide what is the difference I can make to people over the year so that it can become a way of being, not just an event.”
So as we reflect on the life of Mandela, let us not become complacent with how far we have come but rather, let’s work towards an even greater future, for all of us – not just our neighbours, not just people who look like us or think like us. All of us, together.