Heidi Trautmann

577 - Nelson Mandela has closed the last gate behind him

By Heidi Trautmann

You must have lived in South Africa to understand what this man Nelson Mandela has gone through and what he has achieved. You must have witnessed the inhuman rules of apartheid to understand what men like Mandela have been fighting for, for freedom and human rights for his people. You must have witnessed the overwhelming waves of hope when he stood there in the stadium facing his people and not talking of revenge but of cooperation, not of hate but of love. It took him a lot of effort to fight impatience and corruption in his own rows; it was not easy. He knew that on the way to democracy, it was the only way to make compromises with the old masters. ‘Together we can’ has become a worldwide slogan but Nelson Mandela has proven that it can be done.

For South Africans Nelson Mandela was a father figure and for many around the world he was a shining example of humanity, fairness and justice. He returned the basic meaning to these values.  He was a good man. This is what he says about leadership: ‘When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made this effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity’. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013.

My thoughts about life are very similar: ‘Life is like a garden with two gates, by one you enter when you are born, the other you use when you return the leasing contract. In your childhood years your parents and teachers tell you how to use the garden tools properly; you learn to plant the necessary to sustain yourself and later your family, trees and vegetables to give you shade, vitamins and protection, a place to feel at home. The garden teaches you to respect nature and also to admire the wonderful structure and blossoms of ‘weeds’; it teaches you to accept and withstand storms and hail, rain and blazing sunshine and not to blame others for the damage. Finally you will seek a good balance in your garden, among the plants, your family and the friends who are always welcome in it. And when one day you close the last gate behind you, you will know that you have left your garden in order for the next generation to benefit from.’

Good bye, Mr. Nelson Mandela, you have done a perfect job!

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