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Happy Birthday, Madiba!

Nelson Mandela

On this date, 100 years ago, Nelson Mandela was born.

We will not attempt to summarize his extraordinary biography in a blog post.

We simply wanted to share what Madiba represents to us and why he is such an inspirational figure for our work.

We share with Nelson Mandela two fundamental beliefs which are best expressed in his own words:

  • "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

  • "We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."

A country can only prosper if it invests in quality education and allows their future generation to grow up in peace.

We admire that Nelson Mandela challenged the accepted fact of apartheid in his country and fought for race equality. His fight came at great personal costs: he spent 27 years of his life in prison.

That is a long time for standing up for a cause that seems so self-evident today.

How many of us would have the resilience to continue unbowed against all odds and adversities? How much longer would apartheid have continued where it not for Mr Mandela's resilience?

How many worthy causes are currently being fought for outside of the public's attention?

Nelson Mandela's favourite poem from which he drew strength during his 27 years in prison was

'Invictus', a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

If you would rather listen to it, here is a link to a version read by Morgan Freeman:

Nelson Mandela inspires us to stand up for what we believe in ("It always seems impossible until it's done"). Not to give up ("A winner is a dreamer who never gives up").

And because we always love a good quote, here are some more:

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