“Today, Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement mourns the death of South Africa’s most seminal leader to date – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. We salute him for his monumental role in guiding us to democracy and for the lifelong dedication he gave to South Africa’s people.
Mandela’s presence as a leader has made a lasting imprint on South Africa and the world. He endured a lengthy imprisonment and, despite the immense personal sacrifice to his family life and his health, he refused any conditional release that would sabotage laying a foundation for a democratic South Africa. He believed that a democracy should meet the demands made by its people rather than be a mere ideal, and he worked tirelessly to translate this into practice.
He has also become a symbol for peace, unity and reconciliation. On his release from prison in 1990, at the age of 71, he successfully led South Africa through a difficult transition from apartheid to democracy, eventually becoming our first democratically elected president. Mandela led with grace and vision in spite of the years of discrimination he faced under apartheid. Leading by example, Mandela lived simply and stayed committed to improving the socio-economic conditions of others. In his many philanthropic efforts, Mandela sought to better the opportunities of disadvantaged South Africans, particularly children.
It is no wonder that he has become a global icon known for his statesmanship, courage and humanity. Inyathelo pays tribute to Mandela for ensuring the establishment of a constitutional democracy in South Africa, with a strong civil society and the rule of law. Although South Africa continues to deal with many challenges, Mandela had laid a strong framework on which we can continue to take South Africa forward.” – Shelagh Gastrow, Inyathelo Executive Director.