Nelson Mandela - a man apart

From prisoner to president, from freedom-fighter to statesman - the late Nelson Mandela’s 95 years have been filled with remarkable achievements.

No one else has transformed a country so remarkably, no one else has achieved such a standing in the world that his funeral would attract over one hundred current or former heads of state.

But it’s not just with leaders that he has made a mark but with ordinary people, with those in South Africa, both black and white, and those throughout the world who link his name with courage, wisdom, humility, truth and reconciliation.

What other prisoner would learn the language of his guards so he could talk to them - and then later invite those same guards to his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

It’s only fitting that his countrymen and women should celebrate his life this week as well as mourn his death. There may still be inequality and injustice in South Africa but they still owe him so much.

And so do we all. At a time of despair and despondency in many countries, he has restored the good name of politicians. Few of us may have met him but we are all the better for knowing of him.

Michael Heverin





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