Saying Thanks To Madiba – Nelson Mandela Gave Us A Roadmap

In 1990 Nelson Mandela came to Detroit as a stop on his tour of cities in the USA. He was quite a speaker and just as charming when we met him.

Mr Mandela told us that we had a mission to live the best life we could; regardless of what others might believe we deserved. He told us to reach for our dreams and achieve them proudly.

This stuck with me all my life and since then I’ve felt a kind of strange kinship with him. I’ve watched as he toured the world, and opened the Olympics. I saw him speak to the United Nations and even Become President of South Africa.

Mr Mandela gave me a lot of hope for a future that would allow my dreams for my son to be as bright as the future he envisioned for all children. He said Never under any circumstances abandon your dreams. He said to “Live Them Everyday” and to “Work to Push Forward”.

He heard of our efforts in the MSU OFF McGoff Campaign and it was a magical moment. He knew that John MCGoff was a huge financier of projects in South Africa; as well as at MSU. He congratulated us for bridging the gap with the South African Exchange Students and the ANC.

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”


Nelson R. Mandela

He said that we were moving toward the goal and making a path for him to return. That was more praise than I ever expected to hear in my entire life.

Yes he knew that We Loved Him. He knew that We Never Abandoned Him. He knew that We Joined Him in battling for an end to apartheid.

For that we were all grateful

Today when we heard the news that he had transitioned to be one of our ancestors; we knew that he passed the torch and that he would be looking down on us expecting us to remember those words he gave to us so long ago.

“Never Abandon Your Goal” and smiling when he saw us all sharing his lessons to another generation. Yes Madiba we all remember your words; and we will never forget our mission.

Amandla Awetu Madiba !

In June 1964, Nelson Mandela was convicted of sabotage for his role as an ANC activist against the former apartheid regime of South Africa, in which only white people were allowed to vote. Mandela had been accused of  inciting strikes by workers and leaving the country without permission of the government.

Before he was sentenced, he made a famous “speech from the dock,” which ends with the words — in reference to his ideals and his country — “I am prepared to die.”

The Mandela Foundation describes the trial this way:

In the Rivonia Trial Mr Mandela chose, instead of testifying, to make a speech from the dock and proceeded to hold the court spellbound for more than four hours. His speech, which was made at the beginning of the defence case, ended with the words:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. 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.”

The full speech transcript is here.

Mandela (with Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Denis Goldberg) were sentenced to life in prisonment. Mandela spent the better part of the next three decades as a prisoner on Robben Island.

Upon his release in 1990, a day that was the beginning of the end of apartheid, Mandela made another famous speech, in front of 100,000 people in Johannesburg. It was broadcast live around the world. For most people, it was the first time they had seen or heard Mandela since the early 1960s.


“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” — Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”
Nelson Mandela
(18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)

Nelson Mandela was a master of forgiveness. 

That’s how the AP opened the breaking news that Nelson Mandela had passed away.  This amazing man spent a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid, yet he showed the world how to embrace peace with your enemies instead of returning evil for evil.

He will be remembered for many things, but I admire him most for his courage and loving heart, devoid of all bitterness and resentment.

If you would like to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive, you can support the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation. For details, please click here.

We Will Forever Remember – FREEDOM Amandla Awetu Madiba!