Supporting early childhood education professionals worldwide
in their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
With the death of Nelson Mandela, we received a deluge of communications from World Forum Foundation National Representatives. Here are a few examples:
Patsy Pillay, South Africa: “We mourn the death of an icon, Nelson Mandela, a champion of Children’s Rights, a man who gave his life to building a non-racial South Africa. I had the great pleasure of meeting him as a struggling activist in the early '90s. Feel so sad.”
Elsa Lesego Tsae, Botswana: “Indeed the Great Lion of Africa has taken rest. Tata Madiba was and will continue to be our humble father forever. He gave his heart not only to the world of politics, but to children. We at the World Forum and in our individual small spaces will always salute his love. For the people of Botswana, we are like children of South Africa because almost all our tribes migrated from South Africa to settle in Botswana, except the people of the Kalahari. So, we are with South Africa like elder siblings. Tata Mandela is our father forever. May His soul rest in eternal peace!”
Dr. Cynthy K. Haihambo, Namibia: “Yes indeed, our own pace setter, protector, and shield — our African father, the one who lived up to Ubuntu by his acts, not by his words. Yes, indeed it is time to say fare thee well our Tata!”
Margaret Akinware, Nigeria: "South Africans and indeed the whole world, please accept our sympathy on the passing of the greatest, most Cherished and respected African ICON — former President Mandela! May God grant South Africa more peaceful coexistence of all races and tribes, raise more of Mandela in all nations until justice, peace, democracy, and fairness permeate the world."
Henry Manani, Kenya: "He was the greatest human politician of the civilized world and will remain the greatest freedom fighter of all times in history. He will always be the greatest example of human humility and nobility in the face of challenges beyond tolerable limits. He becomes the rock of all ages for the foundation on which our children's growth and character building will always be based."
Karen Graham, Wales: “Such a sad loss to us all. It is with great sadness we think of his death, but let us also be so thankful for his life and his dedication to human rights, freedom, and democracy. It is on the shoulders of giants we stand....”
Carmen Hernaez, Argentina: “I have the belief that when a person gives his life to improving the conditions of his or her community, however small that community is, his spirit and contribution of this person, at the time of his death, spreads and is rooted in the members of the community. The deeper and significant is the contribution, more people recognize that force inside and outside. Therefore, it is a magical moment, as we are living with Nelson Mandela. We all knew his great contribution, but now that light and meaning enlightens everyone more than ever.”
Ruzanna Tsarukyan, Armenia: “I have always admired Nelson Mandela for his patriotism, courage, wisdom, and humanism. I think the current leaders of the world can take good leadership lessons from him and bring happiness to their people and promote democracy and peace in the whole world. This is really a big loss for the world.”
Anat Bar, Israel: “Nelson Mandela and his spirit showed us that we can be optimistic and not give up dreams. The way is not easy and takes time. This was his leadership and sacrifice. We all will have him in our hearts forever.”
Selena Fox, New Zealand: “As South Africa and the world mourns the loss of a great man, one we have been blessed to share our time with on this earth… I am thankful for his strong example of leadership. May it, his wisdom and difference-making, live on as his legacy impacting in our work and lives.”
Eman Gaad, United Arab Emirates: “What a loss... what a man... and what a life to celebrate.”
Manjusree Mitra, Bangladesh: “Bangladesh in mourning for 3 days... Nelson Mandela, the most universally loved and revered leader in history, we mourn for him.”
Dhirendra Lamsal, Nepal: “I always respect and would like to follow the cote of late Mandela: If you expect peace from your enemy, make an alliance with him. My heartfelt tribute for the loss of such a genius! I hold his family, friends, and lovers in my prayer and want to share their grief. May his soul rest in peace!”
Martine Pitt, Australia: “A truly remarkable and inspiring man has gone from our lives. Let us not forget his messages and his philosophy as it is up to all of us to carry the flame from here.”
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I would like to honor Mandela's life by sharing the most profound poem/song that I think he would approve of. It is to remind all of us to open our eyes to really see and to let all humans walk free. I was in South Africa the year when Apartheid happened giving a speech at an International Special Education Conference with my colleague, Dr Daniel Nomishan. I visited Mandela's home and remember just standing there in awe. I will never forget these young performers. They were blind and deaf and yet the audience clearly heard their feet tap in unison and they stamped out such rhythm, such music to our ears. My tears couldn't stop knowing that these individuals although blind see so much more then many of us sighted. It is not just between and sighted but all differences we must all still walk together. No more waiting for fate to turn the light on, we must do it ourselves and together. You will see… The following two sentences have stayed with me as I walk through life. Those who can see, can they really see? And those who walk, do they walk free?
The Pain Will Disappear Author Unknown
1. Well my friend the time has come
For us to take each other's hand
Let's forget 'bout all the unpleasant things of yesterday
And we must be as one in this world we (are) living in
And may God supply in all our needs.
Chorus: We as the blind, you as the sighted
We must live together in this world in harmony.
And we must be as one in this world we're living in
And may God supply in all our needs.
Those who can see, can they really see?
And those who walk, do they walk free?
2. One day when the roll is called up yonder who'll be there
Those who overcome the burdens that they had to bear,
Those who can't see, walk and talk and hear,
One day the pain will disappear.
Magda Gerber, the late international infant specialist, my mentor, provided a beautiful thought-provoking quote I would like to share for us to help continue Mandela's vision.
If you change one thing, you will have made a difference. Then you can change another and another. It will take your whole life. Are you prepared for this?"