What Does Nelson Mandela Mean To You?

Nelson Mandela is known around the world as a man dedicated to bringing peace and love into the world. As an anti-apartheid revolutionary in South Africa, Mandela spent over 27 years in prison for his beliefs. After being released in 1990, Mandela went on to become the first democratically elected president in South Africa.

Today, the powerful legacy of Nelson Mandela is honored on Nelson Mandela International Day. Celebrated each year on July 18, Mandela’s birthday, this day calls on each one of us to give back to our communities and help make a difference.

To mark this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day, we asked members of the YALI Network, “What Does Mandela Mean To You?”

Portrait of Nelson Mandela taken by Matthew Willman
Portrait of Nelson Mandela taken by Matthew Willman. Photo Credit: NMF/Matthew Willman

 

What Does Nelson Mandela Mean To The YALI Network?

“Nelson Mandela to me was a leader who had the vision of serving humanity in every sphere of life, i.e. from his community level to national level and at the global level.”
-Waris Abdulai, Ghana

“When I hear the name ‘Mandela’ I feel freedom, peace, victory, and never losing hope. If you need something, if you have a vision, even if you stay alone believing in it, give it your best always.”
Muyinza Marie Martina, Uganda

 

Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall
Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. Photo Credit: UN Photo

 

“Mandela Mandela! He was a freedom fighter, peace maker, and an icon of humanity and unity. He fought for Africans to became one and left one big LEGACY that we continue to hang on to. My great Inspirer. Every time I fall, I get up immediately, because that was Mandela.”
-Amalia Ngwenolla, Cameroon

“Mandela was a servant leader, a rare hero, selfless being, uncommon creator, a blessing to the universe.”
-Latifat Isonguyo Asada, Nigeria

 

Nelson Mandela with children during a Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund event, August 2007
Nelson Mandela with children during a Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund event, August 2007. Photo Credit: NMCF

 

“To me Mandela means living a life completely sold out to impact others lives, our immediate environment, and the society at large. Not living for one’s self alone, but waking up everyday asking myself, ‘Who needs my help today?'”
-Asikaralu Okafor, Nigeria

“A leader, mentor and a role model. A true African who always had his country and Africa at heart. Adieu Madiba!”
-Ahmad Tijjani Magaji, Nigeria

 

Nelson Mandela, April 2009
Nelson Mandela, April 2009. Photo Credit: NMF Photo/ Alet van Huyssteen

 

“Mandela entails patience, bravery, selflessness, humility, and most of all love without borders.”
-Fox Farai, Zimbabwe

“Man of unity, peace, equality, freedom, a servant leader, a man of the future. His deeds and sacrifice will become a guideline for the people of Africa!!!”
-Desale Ghide, Ghana 

 

Interested in how you can honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy? Learn how you can volunteer to serve Africa on our #YALIServes page. 

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