RIP Nelson Mandela: World Tweets on Forgiving Not Forgetting

Written by David Michaelis

Nelson Mandela left behind him a huge legacy, the impact of which will take generations to realize. — Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black African president, has passed away at the age of 95. He left behind a bold and powerful legacy, a legacy with a not yet fully realized legacy.

UPDATE-OBAMA Eulogy in South Africa

President Barack Obama said in a moving eulogy on Tuesday that Nelson Mandela earned his place in history through struggle, shrewdness, persistence and faith.The President also compared Mandela to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.Obama then urged the world to act on Mandela’s legacy by fighting inequality, poverty and racism. He said progress in the U.S. and South Africa mustn’t cloud the fact there’s still work to be done.

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

After 26 years in prison Mandela became the central figure and voice for his nation’s transitional period in history. His movement created a revolution in his society, changing apartheid forever. Master and slave society was condemned and the nation was both liberated from oppressive rule and forced to move into a new world.

The transition was far from easy. How could blacks and whites coexist after so many years of turbulent segregation and be expected to suddenly live in a viable “rainbow” nation? Mandela’s solution was to create a “Truth and Reconciliation” process in hopes of preventing bloodshed. He knew that it was vital to record and honor the history of oppression, but that forgiveness, in the end, was the key to the future. Massive bloodshed was averted and Mandela emerged as one the most-unique leaders of the post-World War II generation.

His achievements gave new hope for our world, one in which injustice and war weigh heavy and often. His actions, persona, and positive spirit let others see that progress could be made, even in the darkest of places. The global reaction to his death testifies to the cross-generational appeal he had. Presidents and taxi drivers alike knew that his smile was always sincere, wherever he beamed those shining teeth.

A London driver who escorted countless leaders to Buckingham Palace in his limousine said that Mandela was the only world leader who personally greeted the drivers and inquired about their names and histories. Mandela never forgot his roots and how they rose him to a role of power. He constantly kept the desires of the people in his heart and words.

His moral leadership is an immeasurably-difficult example for the next generation to embody. The generation under 30, the “born free” of South Africa, do not have the same memories of apartheid and its cruelties that Mandela and his peers did. They have white friends, grew up in a much-less divided world, and  have to face job market issues with a 40 percent unemployment rate. The generation asks themselves, we are born free but what is our future? The leaders who grew up in the shadow of Mandela do not have the answers. Not yet.

There is a saying that in the shadow of big trees only grass can grow. As South Africa celebrates his life, perhaps there is a new leader, even now within the born free generation, who will read Mandela’s words, and create a new hope for his generation and those to come.



Find your inner Mandela at

Drawing credit: Castellijos Dario, Corrier InternationalWe knew at the point of death since the spring, but it's finally on December 5 that Nelson Mandela died, after a life of struggle and quest for justice.  Imprisoned for many years under the apartheid regime, the first president of South Africa "arc-en-ciel", promoter of dialogue and reconciliation, Nobel Peace Prize, strong and smiling presence, Nelson Mandela remain long in the heart of men and history books.  He was 95.

For, I’m David Michaelis.

Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at