Mandela Day: Remembering Madiba

published on 17 Jul 2014

Carl Jobson, Information & Resources Officer for The Salvation Army International Development (UK), reflects on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

I am one of the many people who have been inspired by Nelson Mandela. However, for a long time I didn’t actually know a great deal about the details of his life. When I became aware of him he was not only a free man, but a living legend; an icon of peace, reconciliation and justice. I felt honoured that I was one of thousands who stood in Trafalgar Square on a cold February morning in 2005 when he told us that we could be the ‘great generation’ that could end poverty. Yet I had no real idea about the reality of everything that he had endured on his way to that makeshift podium. I knew of his triumphs, but less of his struggles.

So when I sat down in the cinema last year to watch the movie based on his life (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) I was excited to learn more about this global role model. As I watched his story unfold I was inspired as he found himself compelled to fight for equality. I was challenged that he was willing to give up everything for the cause he believed in. I was humbled that he made it through 27 years of imprisonment and still left with grace and forgiveness in his heart for his captors.

It is a film that is well worth watching for any fellow justice seekers out there. It helped me to better respect the man I had taken so much inspiration from, because I understood more of what it cost him to gain his wisdom.

Nelson Mandela was a man who knew what freedom meant, because he knew what it was like to be denied that freedom, both from living under the reign of apartheid and from his years in prison. In his autobiography (of which the film of his life was based) he had this to say about what it means to live freely:

‘For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.’ – Nelson Mandela   We are living free, but we are not yet living in a free world. Through our CRY FREEDOM campaign, we are trying to bring freedom for those who are held captive through human trafficking. We need to keep fighting for freedom because there are too many who aren’t able to experience it. If we don’t fight for their freedom, then how we can we truly live free ourselves?   By donating to our anti-trafficking response, or committing to fundraising in your corps or group, you can be part of helping to see that freedom proclaimed.  

Click here to join us and CRY FREEDOM for those held captive through trafficking.  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD.