An Inspiring 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture

What an Inspiring 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture! What a memorable day and way to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary birthday. Thousands of people from every corner of the world gathered to attend this very special event. The ambiance was mesmerizing. The speakers were incredible. The crowd was on fire. While sitting there, warmed up by a very benevolent sun shining on us, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to listen to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mama Graça Machel, Former American President Barack Obama, Mr Patrice Motsepe, among others, LIVE. As a self-made entrepreneur, I felt privileged to be a part of such an incredible chapter of South Africa’s book. Folks, it was an Inspiring 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. It was insightful for us visionaries and leaders, which is the reason why I felt impelled to share the inspiration to be drawn from this special lecture.

All the speakers delivered a poignant speech. What struck me the most was the call for action in each and every single address. It was a call for collective action. There was a perfect interweave of remembering and encouragement to move forward. It was An Inspiring 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture because it reminded every single one of us of Nelson Mandela Legacy and of our role as active citizen in a changing world.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, eloquently reminded us of Nelson Mandela’s purpose and of his fight for his universal ideals and for a democratic, unified and stronger South Africa. Please see below an extract from his speech, as I recorded it:

(…) As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth (…) we are bound to acknowledge that the greatest trait of this son of the African soil was his essential humanity. (…) He led us from the wilderness of conflict and oppression into the land of promise, of freedom, democracy and equality.Yet, his most enduring accomplishment was to teach us what it means to be human. He was one of us. He was born of us and he was formed by us. He shared with us many of the same fragilities and doubts, the same weaknesses and fears. Like us he was imperfect, and like us he constantly sought his better self. This makes his life and his contribution all the more remarkable. (…)

He called upon us to reach beyond the limitations imposed upon us by family, society or even ourselves to become better people. (…)He challenged us to reach beyond our grasp to achieve what we thought impossible. He taught us to strive, to struggle, to serve, and to do so selflessly. (…) As we contemplate the work we must now do to realise his vision of united, just and equal society, it is this lesson from his life that we dare not forget. We dare not forget that poverty is a social creation and that its defeat requires social mobilisation. (…)

Now, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, we are called upon not only to uphold his values and to emulate his humility and his selflessness. We are called upon to be active cadres in the revolutionary struggle for a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world. We are called upon to fight for the interests of the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised. We are called upon to prosecute a progressive struggle against inequality, racial discrimination, ethnic chauvinism and patriarchy. We are called upon to join hands with like-minded people around the world to resist the domination of global affairs by the rich and the powerful. We are called upon to heal our nation and to change the world.”

I don’t know about you folks but I found President’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech incredibly powerful and inspiring as he not only reminded us of Nelson Mandela’s humanity and of his vision but also called upon every one of us to tap into our inner potential to heal our nation and change the world. Simply inspiring.

Former American President Barack Obama, in his memorable speech took us back in time, through the struggle, not only in South Africa but also in the world. He reminded us of actual realities in today’s economy. He incited the leaders in us, left us with 5 guideposts to draw from Madiba’s work and aroused us to act as one to effect positive change in the world. Below is an extract of his speech, as I recorded it :

(…) Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision. I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King and Abraham Lincoln. I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal, and they’re endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuit of a common good. That’s what I believe. And I believe we have no choice but to move forward; that those of us who believe in democracy and civil rights and a common humanity have a better story to tell. And I believe this not just based on sentiment, I believe it based on hard evidence. (…)

We have a better story to tell. But to say that our vision for the future is better is not to say that it will inevitably win. Because history also shows the power of fear. History shows the lasting hold of greed and the desire to dominate others in the minds of men. Especially men. History shows how easily people can be convinced to turn on those who look different, or worship God in a different way. So if we’re truly to continue Madiba’s long walk towards freedom, we’re going to have to work harder and we’re going to have to be smarter. We’re going to have to learn from the mistakes of the recent past. And so in the brief time remaining, let me just suggest a few guideposts for the road ahead, guideposts that draw from Madiba’s work, his words, the lessons of his life.

First, Madiba shows those of us who believe in freedom and democracy we are going to have to fight harder to reduce inequality and promote lasting economic opportunity for all people. (…) Second, Madiba teaches us that some principles really are universal – and the most important one is the principle that we are bound together by a common humanity and that each individual has inherent dignity and worth. (…) Third, Madiba reminds us that democracy is about more than just elections. (…) As a community organizer, I learned as much from a laid-off steel worker in Chicago or a single mom in a poor neighborhood that I visited as I learned from the finest economists in the Oval Office. Democracy means being in touch and in tune with life as it’s lived in our communities, and that’s what we should expect from our leaders, and it depends upon cultivating leaders at the grassroots who can help bring about change and implement it on the ground and can tell leaders in fancy buildings, this isn’t working down here. And to make democracy work, Madiba shows us that we also have to keep teaching our children, and ourselves – and this is really hard – to engage with people not only who look different but who hold different views. This is hard.(…)

[This] leads to my final point: we have to follow Madiba’s example of persistence and of hope.(…)And that’s what we need right now, we don’t just need one leader, we don’t just need one inspiration, what we badly need right now is that collective spirit. And, I know that those young people, those hope carriers are gathering around the world. Because history shows that whenever progress is threatened, and the things we care about most are in question, we should heed the words of Robert Kennedy – spoken here in South Africa, he said, “Our answer is the world’s hope: it is to rely on youth. It’s to rely on the spirit of the young.” (…)  Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let’s remember that truth. Let’s see it as our North Star, let’s be joyful in our struggle to make that truth manifest here on earth so that in 100 years from now, future generations will look back and say, “they kept the march going, that’s why we live under new banners of freedom.”

Wow, folks, this was dynamite. Wow, imagine listening to it LIVE. It was pure magic. I can tell you that. I just love his message and the fact that he stresses upon the idea of a common humanity, true democracy, freedom to worship and especially the part where he mentions that love comes more naturally to human heart.

I believe that love is the very essence of life and a key to a better tomorrow. This is a magnificent reminder of the power that lies within each and every one of us. We are all born with the power to love and hence the power to work miracles in our lives and in the lives of people around us. We have been endowed with a powerful legacy and are being reminded of that essential truth.

Mama Graça Machel shared beautiful intimate memories of her life with Nelson Mandela and as eloquently, reminded us of his humanity, his legacy and of the power of the African nation. Her speech was passionate, loving, caring and truly inspiring for the African nation.

Mr Patrice Motsepe, insisted on the role of the private sector, on the fight for a better world, on the importance of taking action towards a more balanced world and invited us to be part of this move towards a brighter future for all.

As an entrepreneur and co-founder of a Non profit organization (She Phoenix, Femme Phoenix), I heard his call and was imbued with his teachings. There is a need to work towards a more equal society.

All the other speakers also delivered inspiring and memorable speeches which will be forever etched in the memories of the thousands of people gathered at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on that 17th July 2018.

Why was this An Inspriring 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture for me? It reminded us of the extraordinary legacy Nelson Mandela left behind. It also emphasized the fact that Nelson Mandela was a man and despite the challenging circumstances he went through, against all odds, he overcame adversity. This, in itself should encourage each one of us of every walk of life, as it shows that whatever our circumstances, we have what it takes to overcome all the obstacles we may encounter and will head to victory. It highlighted the fact that it is up to us to move forward and to be the leaders, our world so desperately needs. Finally, it explicitly and vividly called upon every single actor of the private sector to unite in making a positive difference in our communities.

It was truly an Inspiring 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this memorable event. Thank you to the Nelson Mandela Foundation for hosting me. It was such an honour and a blessing. The event was a complete success.

I truly hope that this article awakens the leader in you and invites you to play an active and positive role in our changing world. Like it, share it and be a part of a positive network of people working together for a brighter future.

Inspiringly Yours,

Eva Arissani,

Published Author of New Moi New Life : Five Ways to Build a New You and Live an Extraordinary Life, Global / Transformational Speaker, Blogger, Founder of runner-up as best religious/spiritual blog in 2015, Founder of She Phoenix, Femme Phoenix (SPFP) NPO, Women’s & Girl’s Empowerment Champion, Greatness Engineer and Brand Ambassador to South Africa of Mireille Toulekima Global Leadership, Greatness Engineering Ambassador, Mentor, Entrepreneur, Translation Expert, FLE Expert, Facilitator, French Voice Over Artist.





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