JIP SAMHOUD &samhoud media
During the summer of 2011, I had the privilege of interviewing former president FW De Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu about Nelson Mandela’s power of connection in South Africa. Standing in his old prison cell on Robben Island, you could feel the energy Mandela used to inspire the world. The man who demonstrated that you have to fight for a dream of a better world is spoken about with humility. A dream that still persists today.
As a child, my father inspired me with the ideology embraced by Nelson Mandela. Indeed, his philosophy inspired the company that my father founded in 1989. It was therefore a logical step in 2011 to make a documentary about Apartheid and the impact of political changes on human connection in South Africa.
We interviewed former president FW De Klerk first, asking him about how he released Nelson Mandela from Robben Island and how they jointly prepared for the transfer of power. De Klerk spoke at length about how important the personal connection between him and Mandela was for this transfer of power and the changes facing them: “We felt we could trust each other.” [ … ] “I felt his integrity and he also expressed his respect for us, the Afrikaners. He convinced me of his honesty and his desire to work together to find a solution.”
De Klerk then introduced us to Desmond Tutu – Mandela’s friend and himself a pivotal figure in the fight for equality. Desmond Tutu uses the South-African concept of Ubuntu to explain connection: “A person is a person through other persons.” This also describes the dignity both Mandela and Tutu fought for: equality and mutual respect for every single person.
We, the young generation, must not forget the lessons provided by Mandela, De Klerk and Tutu because they are still relevant today. The unequal treatment of groups of people is a constantly recurring phenomenon in our history, which is why our world needs leaders who champion positive change. Leaders who know how to inspire humanity by showing what it means to respect each other – to truly live together.
Mandela has inspired the world for many years, something that is only too evident when you see all the obituaries on social media. So let us not forget to also take a closer look and actually apply the lessons he left us. Let us continue to inspire one another and build a better future.