The world awoke this morning to the sad news of Nelson Mandela’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
Mandela was a giant among men, who chose to defy the brutal, racist apartheid regime in South Africa. He spent years in prison, often in harsh conditions, in defense of the ideals in which he believed: democracy, justice and equality between the races.
Shortly before he was sentenced to jail he said: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
In spite of the odds, Mandela managed to realise this noble vision, freeing his country from tyranny and establishing democracy. He helped to heal the wounds left by apartheid, through grace, magnanimity and by offering his former captors forgiveness.
Mandela’s influence traveled far beyond Africa’s shores. He stood as a beacon of hope and inspiration to democracy and human rights activists across the world, including in the Maldives.
On this sad day, we pay tribute to one of the 20th Century’s most important and iconic figures. And we cherish and uphold the legacy he leaves behind. In his own words: “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”