The world celebrates Nelson Mandela today on his Birthday. It’s an international day of remembrance in honor of a great man. Thousands of South Africans are celebrating the former South African President’s Birthday today, by giving 67 minutes of their time to help other people.
67 minutes of community service in his memory, 67 minutes symbolizing his 67 years of struggle.
I visited Africa 3 times in my lifetime, left 3 times, because I had to but wanted to stay longer. I have a special relationship with Africa and the African people, I might write about it one day.
Most of you know that I love good speeches and today, I would like to honor Nelson Mandela on my blog with his best speech. A speech, that he gave on April 20th, 1964 from the dock at the opening of the defense case in the Rivonia trial. He was 45 years old and was already incarcerated since 2 years.
What was suppose to be a statement by an accused prisoner, became his most important speech. He talked about himself, his upbringing, his dreams and in 29 minutes he took the chance and talked to South Africa and the world directly.
Instead of posting the whole speech, I would rather point out one significant paragraph only:
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.
2 month later he was sentenced to life in prison and was not freed until 1990. He was elected President of South Africa in 1994.
The speech, later called the “I am prepared to die speech” can be found online >>>here<<<.
As the world celebrates Nelson Mandala’s Day, we should remember and cherish all that he taught us. A great man, a life that won’t be forgotten!