Much has been and will continue to be written about the remarkable life of Nelson Mandela by more authoritative and erudite authors than I am.  And yet I feel compelled to mark this moment and reflect on an incredible story.

There are many things we can learn from Madiba, I won’t presume to identify his greatest achievements or characteristics.  Instead I’ll leave that to you.  I urge everyone to look behind the sensational headlines at the real man and his story and ask yourself ‘What small thing can I learn?  What will I do that is different, better?’

We can all feel sad at his passing and humbled by his greatness and if we all take one small action to change our behaviour and really do something differently his legacy will truly live on.

For me I am struck by how he was fully present for everyone he met.  Be they a disabled child, a lowly worker or a senior statesman he gave them the gift of his full attention and made them feel very special.  So be careful – when we next meet I aim to give you a damned good listening to.

Let me say thank-you to those who love many
Let me say thank-you to those who still play fair

John Cougar Mellencamp


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