Passing away of Nelson Mandela

Dr Pieter Mulder

On behalf of the Freedom Front Plus, I wish to express my sympathy with former president Nelson Mandela’s wife and family following his passing away.

It is given to few men to live out their dreams in their lifetime.  Nelson Mandela succeeded in doing this. Against the most colossal odds, he had realized the vision he had as a young man.

Can one person make a difference in politics? In my youth I was involved in many debates about this.

Politics is too complicated with too many things constantly changing. One person alone has very little real influence on all these variables, I argued. I was wrong.

One person, at the right place, at the right time and with the right approach can make a huge difference. Nelson Mandela was such a person. He proved this statement to be true. He not only had an influence on South Africa, but on the whole world.

Who could have predicted what impact he would have, not only on black people but also on white people? Yet, he did not calculatingly strive for popularity. I remember how he addressed forty thousand people in a stadium and strictly reprimanded them because they did not sing the Afrikaans part of the anthem.

After a breakfast-meeting and an hour-long discussion alone with him in the nineties, my conclusion was that friendliness and humility were his strongest qualities, but one should not for one minute doubt his iron resolve to achieve his goals.

His popularity mostly lay in his human touch on a personal level. He was attuned to small things which had a great impact on people.

I started by stating that it is given to few men to live out their dreams in their lifetime.  Nelson Mandela succeeded in doing this. The question is, what were these dreams of Mr. Mandela?

During the Rivonia Trials Mr. Mandela addressed the court on 20 April 1964. He closed his speech with the following: “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an idea for which I hope to live for and to see realized, but my lord, if it needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” In his first speech in Cape Town following his release in 1990, Mr. Mandela repeated this view.

The question, following the passing away of Mr. Mandela, is to what extent has South Africa achieved this goal? And for the future – will these dreams become more or less true in South Africa?


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