Peace and Security

A Tribute to Nelson Mandela

As the news of the passing of Nelson Mandela flashed around the world at cyber speed, tributes began to pour forth from world leaders and statesmen, pontiffs and clergymen, and citizens of every nation. He was a man who put his life on the line for justice in his early years, suffered a third of his life in prison and later forgave his tormentors at his liberation from prison for the good of the people and as a example to heal a broken nation.

Nelson Mandela was a man of peace, reconciliation and social justice, all of which derived from a deep faith and spirituality. According to Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Prize winner in 1984: “He inspired others powerfully and revealed in his character, transparently, many of God’s attributes of goodness, compassion, concern for others, desire for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation…. Although Mandela was a Christian, he recognized the power of all religions to influence people to do good and to work tirelessly to create a South Africa – and a world – where all men were equal despite differences in race or religion.”

Mandela himself expressed his views on the value of the different faiths: “Religion is one of the most important forces in the world. Whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, or a Hindu, religion is a great force, and it can help one have command of one’s own morality, one’s own behavior, and one’s own attitude.”

Nelson Mandela’s role in peacefully ending a deeply rooted system of forced segregation in South Africa gave him the moral stature of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

UPF honors Nelson Mandela as a true man of peace beyond race, nationality, ethnicity and religion. He was a man of principle, a man of heart, a man who will be missed but never forgotten.

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