Goodbye, Madiba, Thank you for your courage

The international community is in mourning after the death of Nelson Mandela, a man of profound convictions who demolished the walls of apartheid and, no doubt about it, showed us the strength of peace and reconciliation. In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (1994), he comments on where he got the strength and the consistency of his beliefs: It is from these comrades in the struggle that I learned the meaning of courage. Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their lives for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resilience that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.


In these memories, he teaches us that freedom is a responsibility and that it calls for a continued and daily commitment: I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.

Goodbye, Madiba, thank you for teaching us that the search for tolerance, dialogue and peace is a vital and never-ending process to which you have invited us with your example of consistency. Thank you, Madiba, for you have shown us the importance of Africa and you have contributed to its awakening in the XXI century. Forever with us.