There are few people’s lives his vision didn’t touch. Growing up in the 80s we went to concerts to campaign for his release, we boycotted South African produce, we tried to heal racial divisions in our own society. In 1990 I remember dancing in the streets at a Windhoek family wedding in newly independent Nambia – it had been illegally occupied by South Africa for decades.
Mandela taught us how to campaign, how systems and trade were linked to equality, human rights and social justice. The moral compass of our time, he inspired all of us ordinary people to voice our concerns and to work for change. There is not one social entrepreneur who hasn’t been influenced by him.
The journey to democracy and social justice is a long one. Profit-only economics and financial systems undermine people’s opportunity to earn enough to cover their basic human rights and develop their communities. In Mandela’s lifetime what seemed impossible in South Africa happened, and he went from ‘terrorist’ to President of the New Nation. Systems and society can change – and we say thank you, Mandela, for your relentless hope and optimism. Let your life inspire us all to act now and change the power structure of our unjust, unsustainable world.
Read Christine de Leon’s article ‘Mandela: Let’s Not Talk About the Batik-Style Shrits’ on the Huffington Post here.