Hope and not fear: a tribute to Mr. Mandela



“May your choices reflect your hope, not your fear.” ~Nelson Mandela

I don’t have many words today, just a deep and humble sadness. Still, I needed to write. Ever since yesterday’s news, I’ve been wondering what our would will be like without Mr. Mandela in it. He was the kind of person and public figure one imagines will always somehow be around. People like him can’t simply just not be one day.

And then I thought who else would qualify for a similar kind of status? Perhaps Gandhi in his day. Perhaps Mother Theresa. The 14th Dalai Lama.

Yes, there are many amazing people in this world, famous or not, who do amazing things. But Mr. Mandela was, well, Mr. Mandela. A unique inspiration and light…a necessary, indispensable presence.

In the past almost two years, I’ve often come across his inspiring quotes, two of which have brought me light in some of my darkest hours:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”


“When people are determined, they can overcome anything.”

I trusted these words, because they were earned by an extraordinary human being who lived them with courage, who earned them through great sacrifice. These are not the words of a well-meaning, intelligent armchair philosopher. These are the words of a man who spent 27 years in prison and still hoped, still smiled.

And so now that he is not here anymore, it feels as if suddenly a bright, bright star that always shined in the night sky suddenly vanished. Yes, it will be remembered. He will be remembered. His legacy lives on. But it’s not the same.

It angers me such people have to die. And this morning I thought that today, tomorrow and all the days to come, we will wake up in a world where Mr. Mandela no longer lives.

But then I saw more of his photos, and read more of his quotes. It didn’t make me less sad that we lost him, but it did make me feel grateful I was alive at a time when Mr. Mandela also lived.

And that tomorrow and all the days to come, we will wake up in a world where Mr. Mandela lived, and lived such a remarkable life.

Rest in peace Madiba, rest in peace. Know many, many will continue to strive to have our choices reflect our hope and not our fear.

And thank you.

One Comment Add yours

  1. paulinemah says:

    Beautiful tribute. His quotes are great words one should try to live by.


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