“Wings Of Freedom”: Tribute To Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela embodied freedom and democracy in a changing world in which the oppressed are rising and past is being forgotten. Please go to the nigh resolution image and zoom in to see the vibrance and beauty of wild, free birds in this mosaic (Wild Bird Trust)
Nelson Mandela embodied freedom and democracy in a changing world in which the oppressed are rising and past is being forgotten. Please go to the nigh resolution image and zoom in to see the vibrance and beauty of wild, free birds in this mosaic (Wild Bird Trust)

Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our new, democratic South Africa and force of nature that united a divided country has died. He presented to the world our path to a better future – reconciliation, love and community. “Madiba” passed away peacefully in his home with family just before 9pm last night (5th December 2013), he was 95 and had enjoyed 24 years living in a free South Africa he helped create. Every South African will miss our founding father and the world will miss a leader that reminded us in every action that politicians need to live their lives in the service of the people and the land. Mandela’s smile beams out positive energy and opens the hearts of those around him. We can only hope that, now free and without pain, Madiba can fly free like these birds and continue to spread hope and dreams through our rainbow nation…

Some touching quotes from world leaders that will miss Madiba!

President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, said: “Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause… A determination to live as Madiba has lived, to strive as Madiba has strived and to not rest until we have realised his vision of a truly united South Africa, a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and a better world.”

President of the United States, Barack Obama, said: “I cannot imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. And today’s he’s gone home. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.”

F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era President, said: “Although we were political opponents — and although our relationship was often stormy — we were always able to come together at critical moments to resolve the many crises that arose during the negotiation process.”

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, said: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time… Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero… Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace… Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.

Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, said: “Nelson Mandela was one of the outstanding figures of our time… He was the father of his nation, a man of vision, a fighter for freedom who avoided violence. He was a humble man who provided a personal example for his nation during the long years he spent in prison… Worked to heal the rifts in South African society and succeeded, through the power of his character, in preventing racial hatred. He will be remembered as the father of the new South Africa and a moral leader of the highest order.”

Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, said: “A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s. He was a true Gandhian. His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come.”

The Dalai Lama, the 78-year-old spiritual leader from Tibet, said: “He was a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity, a great human being, someone of whom we can truly say: ‘He lived a meaningful life’. I pray for him and offer my heartfelt condolences to you, the members of your family and the entire people of South Africa.”

Mandela and then President FW De Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for the peaceful termination of the Apartheid regime and inauguration of a new democratic South Africa. A year later Mandela was elected President after our first democratic election. Madiba will remain in our hearts as the father of our nation and his life’s work will burn bright for many generations to come… We will not let you down Tata Madiba!


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Meet the Author
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.