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President Nelson Mandela, his legacy, worth his sacrifice?

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

This morning I reflected on the day I met Nelson Mandela. Being in venues with Nelson Mandela is electrifying. Two decades ago, he held my hand with both his hands, that was the most humbling, electrifying, life-defining moment for me. My son and his grandchildren attended Sacred Heart College.

Today President Nelson Mandela would have been 103 years old. I reflected on his dreams his vision, his courage, his selflessness, his passion, his ability to connect, forgive, work through his pain, and listen to diverse voices, I CRIED! He sacrificed so much to ensure freedom for all who live in South Africa. 27 years later the reality is a far cry from what he envisioned for our people.

As a nation, we failed Nelson Mandela!!!! The scenes that played out this last week deepens the levels of poverty, unemployment, social injustice, and a country divided. However, there are also scenes of collaborative initiatives driving positive outcomes. As much as these collaborative efforts warm my heart, I am equally disappointed. As I ask myself why we need a crisis, which sets us back in terms of economic progress and advancement, to get people to give, time, energy and money to a situation that could have been avoided. When we work together with the same passion and deploy the required resources in advancing President Nelson’s Mandela’s vision we drive progress, improve the lives of many and we keep Nelson Mandela’s vision alive.

There are many touchpoints and memories, including this past week, to demonstrate what the South African people are capable of when we rally together. Why don’t we keep this momentum of Change alive?

Nelson Mandela did not begin his life of change being a righteous man, he was an angry man. He allowed himself to journey into his GREATNESS and in the process demonstrated to the world what real leadership should look like. In 2009 the United Nations declared the 18th of July “Nelson Mandela Day” to commemorate the birth of a true leader! We all have the ability to transform and lead with selflessness for the advancement of all people.

A true leader serves others, is willing to sacrifice, steps out of his comfort zone, keep his ego in check and elects to listen to all voices, including the “silent” voices. The man pictured with President Nelson Mandela was born John Favors, became Toshembe Abdul when he joined Martin Luther King and finally Bhakti Tirtha Swami also affectionately referred to as Swami Krsnapada. Swami Krsnapada died on 27 June 2005. Many great leaders have sought guidance and listened to Swami Krsnapada’s perspective. This interview does not include President Nelson Mandela. I am sharing this with you to introduce you to Swami Krsnapada’s thought patterns and outlook on life. He has a beautiful way to prompt thought and stretch ones thinking. My friend Lavan Pillay was a scholar of Swami Krsnapada and I have permission to share his work.

Many of the current South African politicians have had the privilege and luxury of spending time with President Nelson Mandela and in the process had the opportunity to learn, extract value, cultivate thought to advance progress and success for all who live in our beautiful land. I stopped asking why progress is so slow as most of you on my timeline know the answer to this.

I feel the urge to stress the volatile energy in South Africa and the need for each of us to rally together regularly in a more intentional and impactful way in memory of Nelson Mandela. Working together in times of crisis and giving 67 minutes of your time once a year in memory of Nelson Mandela is not enough to shift the energy, mindset, personal and economic growth.

I am intentional on how and with whom I spend my time, energy, and resources. I have not listened to a family meeting hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Reliable sources have indicated that he used “insurrection” to describe the current riots. I believe Cyril knows better than to use this word without the facts.

While you ponder on the severity of Cyril’s statement and imagine what South Africa could look like in the future. Remember we have choices:

  • to be complacent, or

  • to be proactive in finding solutions to our challenges.

Resiliency is our superpower and together we can rise and grow as a nation!!! What are you willing to do to shape the positive outlook for South Africa’s tomorrow? In the words of President Nelson Mandela, “It is in our hands”

Please email your thoughts, solutions ideas to or

Thank you for stopping by!

I wish you love, light, happiness, and Freedom

Charmaine Soobramoney

I Am the Change and Free - Founder

Each One Hold One (EOHO) - Co-founder

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