#BeTheLegacy: 100 Years of Nelson Mandela

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Today marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, also known fondly as Madiba. As the world reflects on his legacy, the Nelson Mandela Foundation prompts communities everywhere with an actionable hashtag: #BeTheLegacy. The question is, how would Madiba wish for people to celebrate his life’s work? How can we embody the legacy of a man who led such a remarkable life?

I have always revered Nelson Mandela, but my admiration for his life’s work truly reached a new height two years ago when I had the honor of visiting South Africa to attend the grand opening of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. Islamic Relief had sponsored the children’s oncology ward, and the trip afforded me the opportunity to visit not only his namesake’s hospital, but surrounding communities who are still healing—and hurting—from the wounds of apartheid. I saw how much the education system benefited from his leadership, and how much hope and love he had instilled in the people. Seeing his impact close up really opened my eyes and inspired within me a sense of responsibility. It showed me that one person really can make a huge difference. I began to read more about his life and take note of little ways we can follow his example. Below are are few sayings of Nelson Mandela that should be more than just captions on social media.

1. Let go of Hate

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

2. Face your Fear

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

3. Live a Life of Passion

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

4. Give

“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.”
And for a little help with this last one, hop on over to IRUSA.ORG, where you can see how to sign up to volunteer your time and energy, or donate something in Madiba’s honor. May Allah help us to beautify our characters and build our own legacies of service and hope.

Chancey is the Editor-in-Chief for ReliefLab and a Content Creator at Islamic Relief USA. We would love to feature your voice on the blog – send us a message at relieflab@irusa.org.

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