Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture – Delivered by Former President of USA Obama
I’ve taken the longest time to actually share this post because I felt somewhat inadequately knowledgeable. We are all praising a man, a president, a freedom fighter but somehow I feel that people don’t really know all that much about his life. Why did he go to prison? What does it actually take to change a nation? To change the world?
In all honesty, I still don’t have the full knowledge of what his crime was because the internet allows me to know about what food he ate while in prison, the letters he wrote and even the times when his comrades visited him. There is a multitude of videos and articles on the day he was released but basically nothing on why he was there to begin with.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect the courage it took to stand up against a system that was hateful and forced millions of people to live a life of misery.I am truly thankful I did not have to bare witness to any of it. To now have the freedom to live as we wish to live, because he, and a handful of others risked their lives to affect change for us to enjoy. But what exactly did they do?
27 years is a long time to find it within yourself to forgive, to learn and to take the bold steps of changing your life, but that is exactly what Madiba did. I have a mountain of respect for the life ‘the father of our nation’ has lived, after prison. He not only changed his own life or even the lives of billions of people around the world. But every year, that change is still being spread, through our 67 minutes of goodwill being done, in his honor.
I dream about freedom. True, actual, freedom.
To not disregard race or culture, but to acknowledge and accept it.
To not turn a blind eye to our differences, but to embrace them.
To not hate, because we are so much more capable of love.
To not create a world where peace is threatened due to revenge.
To not turn South Africa into a new apartheid era, because it is fast-becoming exactly that.
I dream of Peace. To not need the courage to simply live.
I pray about becoming a Goodwill Ambassador, to be somewhat of a beacon of light in a seemingly dark world. So maybe that’s why I’m asking about the HOW and the WHY. I want to affect change, but I question if my courage is enough. If my sacrifice of freedom will allow freedom for others thereafter. 27 years of sacrifice and reflection.
Nelson Mandela would have been 100 years old this year, and The Nelson Mandela Foundation hosts the Annual Lecture and there is incredible speakers at the occasion. This year was pretty massive as USA’s first black President, Barack Obama delivered this year’s Annual Lecture.
I don’t know where to begin with how incredible it was! 15 000 people gathered at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Illovo, Johannesburg. There were dignities and royalty present and thousands of what I would like to call ‘important people’ and then there was me. I could say I felt honored, but that doesn’t even begin to emphasize the overwhelming feeling I felt sitting there among these people.
I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to a lot of you, but I attended as media, representing my blog. A platform that I created on a whim. For the love of writing and creating content for my family and friends to enjoy. And there I was, at an event that I honestly felt has changed my view on a number of things…
- We all have the power to affect change
- We don’t need to change the world, but we are able to change ourselves
- If we cannot find Good, Be Good
- There is a lot of good happening around us, it’s not all bad
- The government is there for a reason, and not everyone is corrupt
- We can do good, even when we find ourselves in the worst stage of our lives
- We are One South Africa.
I felt empowered, that I am not completely naive to have hope. Hope in a better future.
Here is a recording of the entire Lecture.
A week later I was invited to attend a celebration in honor of Nelson Mandela, at the Joburg Theatre.
It was a collection of artists that were, in their own right, legends as well. Here are some of the photo’s I managed to take in between the dancing, singing, cheering and having the absolute time of my life.