A poster of Nelson Mandela in Brooklyn, New York, the US. Picture: REUTERS
A poster of Nelson Mandela in Brooklyn, New York, the US. Picture: REUTERS

The entire world is poised to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late global icon Nelson Mandela.

Madiba will be remembered for his eternal optimism; he was respected for the honesty of his beliefs and the dedication he displayed in pursuing them. He understood the art of political compromise. He was a great South African and a president who honoured the office and considered it a privilege to serve his nation. His deeds and words will echo in time as we struggle to build and erect a new democratic order in 2019..

After his release, Tata reached out to the nation and the world at large, using not only his voice but his strength of spirit and supreme character. During his years in office he fought for equality and justice. In the end, though, we all gained a renewed sense of pride in being a nation born free. It was he who liberated his people from all vestiges of racial tyranny and rescued us from bondage, bringing serfdom to an end.

Subserviency was banished forever.

Madiba was the ultimate symbol of black pride and redemption, a 20th-century titan, a towering figure on the world stage during some of the most momentous events in modern global history. Very few leaders get to change not only the landscape of their country but of the world — Madiba was such a leader, whose global impact was vast.

Nelson Mandela was a man who restored grandeur to politics and lived to see a new SA built on a concordance come true. We remember him today not only as a stellar figure in the painful history of SA but also as the protagonist of one of the greatest episodes in history anywhere.

Nelson Mandela will remain an iconic symbol for centuries to come. When Socrates died for his views, and Christ (peace be upon him) for his faith, the world believed they would not get another example like that.

Farouk Araie