Mandy Hager’s Tribute

mandy hager‘I will be forever grateful he was in the world’

Mandy Hager, Katherine Mansfield Fellow, writes…

Like many of my generation, I was first made aware of Nelson Mandela through the anti-Springbok Tour protests.

Over the years, watching his grace and humility – and humanity – I came to realise that what he had become to me

was the living incarnation of my hope.


There is so much I truly despair about in human behaviour – our capacity for cruelty, selfishness and greed; our inability to learn from past mistakes;

our knee-jerk desires for retribution and violence – and Nelson Mandela became the touchstone for me, the living, walking proof that human beings DO

have a capacity for total good.

That we CAN forgive and move on. That it IS possible to shed hate and anger, and to work from a place of compassion, generosity and unconditional love.

If we all embraced his values

Many times, during heated debates about politics and human-inflicted miseries, I have gone on about the way the world could be if we all embraced

the values he espoused. And many times I’ve been called a dreamer, an idealist, a nutcase (take your pick!) And, on the face of it, it’s hard to argue otherwise, when there is so much evidence to the contrary.

But Nelson Mandela was my counter argument – my ace up the sleeve. Because if he can do it (find the place of calm and shed the generations of hate and violence, proactively working for peace and love) then we ALL have the capacity. All is takes is making the choice.

To have had him here in my lifetime makes me feel very blessed. He should be the person each of us aspires to be. We each should take on his mantle as

our own.

Quite simply, he is my hero, and always will be. And I will be forever grateful he was in the world.