Nelson Mandela, a leader of leaders
Did you know?
The Mandela Day brand icon, the hand of Nelson Mandela, represents the imprint of individuals on the world.
Every year on July 18, the world pauses for a while to think about a leader of leaders – and the lessons he has bestowed on all of us.
Mandela Day is celebrated internationally in many ways. There are music concerts, there are 67 minutes of unselfish giving to others and there are friends everywhere who will reflect on the life of Madiba.
Hollywood stars like Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood will remember their times with Nelson Mandela. As will supernova music names like Beyonce and Bono. The editor of Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, will talk to his sons of when they sat on Mandela's lap and were the sole focus of his attention.
'Thinking like Nelson Mandela makes you more controlled, more self-disciplined, more measured,' says Stengel. 'It makes you take the long view of things.'
And the world's leaders, most of whom take his calls at any time of the night or day, will also spare a thought for the great man. Here, in a few words, are some of their opinions of Nelson Mandela:
Bill Clinton, former US president: 'Nelson Mandela told me he forgave his oppressors because if he didn’t they would have destroyed him.'
Barak Obama, current US president: 'Through his choices, Nelson Mandela made it clear that we did not have to accept the world as it is – that we should do our part to seek the world as it should be.'
His long-standing friend, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: 'Which other country has a moral colossus to match Nelson Mandela? We are the envy of every single nation on Earth. He has become an icon of forgiveness, compassion, magnanimity and reconciliation for the entire globe.'
And then everyone's favourite cleric tells this story: 'I fondly thought Madiba was my friend and so, like a good friend, I told him I wasn't impressed with his sartorial taste and his penchant for these gaudy shirts.
'Do you know how he treated this friendly advice? Well, he retorted, "That's pretty thick, coming from a man who wears a dress in public".'