Farewell Nelson Mandela

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Meeting Nelson Mandela some 13  years ago remains a vivid and inspiring moment in my life.

Madiba’s last visit to Australia was on the eve of the 2000 Olympics.  He was taking part in a University of  Sydney symposium, “What makes a champion.” I introduced Mr Mandela to the global media waiting at Darling Harbour.  Behind the scenes he was warm and approachable as he extended his hand in greeting.  Even then he was somewhat frail.  However, as he stepped onto the stage, I watched as this solitary man lit up and played out the role required of him as the world’s most revered leader.

The most telling moment of his address later at the University was when he put down his prepared speech to say that changing a nation is relatively easy.  Changing yourself is what’s hard.  Finding it within himself to forgive those oppressors was his main moral challenge.