The gift Mandela gave me

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I was born and raised in a small farming community called Empangeni, Natal, located 2 hours north of Durban in South Africa.

It was 1995 and the Rugby World Cup final, rugby’s biggest game was on as I sat watching as Nelson Mandela walked out onto the field wearing the number six Springbok jumper. Within seconds, 65,000 white rugby supporters were chanting his name, South Africa’s first black president.

His message of reconciliation, not vengeance, inspired the world after he negotiated a peaceful end to segregation and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him.

For millions all over the world, this was Mandela’s legacy, especially for South Africans. However, Mandela left me with a gift, a message if you would like, that is equally inspiring.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison in Cape Town. He was 72 when he was released on February 11th, 1990. So this is the gift, this is the message..when most people are looking at 72 as ‘old age’, here was a man whose life was just starting to really get interesting.

He could have emerged out of prison that day, found a quite house and spent the rest of his years reading books, pottering around and just taking it easy. Instead, at 77, he became the first black president of South Africa. He traveled, he spoke to millions, wrote books, healed a country and inspired the world.

If one man can start to achieve all this at 77, how much can you start to achieve now at your age?

Isn’t this the most exciting gift to be reminded that anyone can leave a legacy. Hopefully, none of us will spend 27 years in a cell, wasted years we will never get back.

We actually have an extra 27 years on Mandela so imagine what we could achieve. Now I am not saying you will be the next world leader (unless this is your goal), but I do ask you what it is that you want to do to make this world a better place?

Be inspired by Mandela that it is NEVER too late.

Get out there, stamp your mark and know that anything and I mean anything at any age is possible.