The Africare family extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family and the people of South Africa in this time of great loss. We honor his memory by recalling the words he spoke during his opening statement while on trial for his life in 1964 for acts of sabotage against South Africa’s apartheid government:
“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.”
At Africare, we celebrate the fact that although he endured decades of harsh imprisonment and prejudice, President Mandela continued to fight for the universal ideals of equality, freedom and justice. In his own words as our honorary chairman, he regarded Africare as one of America’s “greatest gifts to Africa.”
President Mandela personified Africare’s mission by giving his voice, heart and time to the eradication of poverty and elimination of preventable disease. He worked tirelessly to secure more opportunities for South Africans and in 1994, accepted Africare’s Bishop John T. Walker Humanitarian Service Award.
As a young man President Mandela protested and fought for the rights of disenfranchised South Africans. As a prisoner, he maintained his moral authority and further educated himself and fellow detainees. As the first president of South Africa in the post-apartheid era, he brought about a peaceful transition in what had been one of the world’s most volatile political landscapes by encouraging reconciliation and unity. As a statesman, he improved the lives of millions with measures to alleviate poverty and promote development. As an elder, he continued to support social causes and inspire goodwill.
President Mandela envisioned a future of peace and prosperity for all Africans – especially its youth. His lifelong efforts resulted in some of the most important humanitarian accomplishments of our time.
“Madiba” will be missed, but his legacy of social justice and building peace will endure.