The World Cup and Nelson Mandela

June 18, 2010 at 5:06 am | Posted in World Cup 2010 | 1 Comment

I could not let the World Cup in South Africa go by without writing my piece on Nelson Mandela, or “Madiba” as he is also known.

Mandela sacrificed much of his life as a political prisoner because he had the courage to fight Apartheid in South Africa.  He was kept hidden away by the Apartheid regime until they could do so no more.  The world was inspired by Mandela’s words and deeds and the regime had to set him free.  I will never forget the joy of watching his release live on television.

With Willem De Klerk as his negotiating partner, he set the course to move South Africa from Apartheid rule into modern democracy. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

In doing so, Mandela and De Klerk avoided a great deal of bloodshed.  One could forgive Mandela if he  wanted the blood of his captors.  He did not want their blood, only democracy and justice.  Mandela was so popular, if he wanted to, he could have made himself the king of South Africa for life as other political leaders have done on the African continent and elsewhere. He did not do so.  He put in place a system of democracy, served his term as president, and then gracefully bowed out of political life when it was someone else’s turn to lead.

In his words and actions, Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest heroes of the 20th Century, and a model for our behaviour in the 21st century.

It was because of his moral power and inspirational life that South Africa was awarded the World Cup.

Mandela is an old man now, and deserves to be left in peace as he wishes.  But wouldn’t I love to see him at a game?


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  1. Thank you for capturing the strength and leadership of Madiba, who although absent from the World Cup matches, is still very much present in spirit.

    The official 46664 Bangle bracelet is engraved with Nelson Mandela’s prisoner number, in support of his humanitarian projects. It is our hope that footy fans around the world will pause amidst the World Cup excitement, and give back to those less fortunate by purchasing a 46664 Bangle. Wearing the bangle will make you feel good about making a difference – long after the final whistle blows on July 11!

    Please visit for more info and join our community at

    Thank you.

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