It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Nelson Mandela and today we remember his enormous contribution to
the country, to the world and to many of us individually. We celebrate his life and mourn his death.
In the words of Ahmed Kathrada “Nelson Mandela you symbolise collective leadership, reconciliation, unity, forgiveness, nation-building
and a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa. Your smile, which lingers still, was always from the heart, never forced, and the
great joy you took in the world around you, especially in children, was unmistakeable.”
Indeed we are privileged to have lived in the time of this great man. We have first hand experiences and memories of Mandela walking
out of jail as a free man with one hand holding that of his wife and the other raised in a salute of freedom and strength. When he spoke
from the Grand Parade in Cape Town, when Chris Hani was murdered and he was able to calm the waters and call for peace.
When I met Madiba I was overwhelmed by his dignity and humility and sense of great power. I was awed and enthralled and almost afraid
to approach him, and then he smiled …
A quote which perhaps symbolises so much about the man when he insists on forgiveness: “To go to prison because of your convictions and
be prepared to suffer for what you believe in, is something worthwhile. It is an achievement for a man to do his duty on earth irrespective
of the consequences”.
At another time he said: “I would like to be remembered not as anyone unique or special, but as part of a great team in this country that has
struggled for many years, for decades and even centuries,” “The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”
He called on all of us to be part of building a society of compassion and humanity. He believed that we can all contribute as individuals and
build a society in which we can all live with dignity and peace.
Our condolences go to the family and to all of South Africa.
May your soul rest in peace. God bless Africa. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica
Chairman of Beit Emanuel