It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of the great Nelson Mandela. A beloved leader and champion of race relations in South Africa, this iconic leader has long been a source of inspiration for me, personally, as well as millions of others around the world.
President Mandela brought reconciliation and healing to a country struggling against Apartheid; his soft-spoken speeches inspired hope amongst all who heard them. His post-politics charitable works are known the world over and he remained a vocal champion of causes he felt passionate about such as poverty, peace building and HIV/AIDS.
While we mourn his passing, it is a comfort to know that his legacy will live on. In addition to the countless parks, schools and squares named in his honour, his name will continue to be associated with humanitarianism, dignity and unyielding optimism.
I know that Nelson Mandela will continue to inspire me in my work as a Senator of Canada. As I continue to follow Mandela’s exceptional example by focusing on youth, poverty and discrimination issues, I hold close to my heart his words: “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future”.
Just last week, I met with Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, and I stand with him now, united in our common grief of Mr. Mandela’s passing. I would like to offer my most sincere condolences to Mr. Mandela’s family and I join all Canadians of faith in prayer as we pray for Mr. Mandela’s repose of soul and for continued peace in South Africa. I pray for a peaceful mourning period and I pray that one day we might see Nelson Mandela’s great vision achieved: a peaceful and unified Africa.
God bless, Madiba.