Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was a great supporter and believer in what Food for Life stood for. He made the above statement at a gathering of 50,000 school children in 1997 who were invited by Food for Life to a public picnic in Durban called the “Festival for the Children of the Rainbow Nation” with President Mandela as its Guest of Honour. School children and their teachers gathered at Kings Park Soccer stadium. After delivering the key note address, President Mandela extended his stay at the event and spent more than five hours watching the various children’s performances. He encouraged the children to excel in school, take advantage of the rights afforded to them, and instructed them to appreciate that the generations before them had fought for their freedom. The Mercury Newspaper reported that he stated this was “the happiest day” of his life.
To him, the gathering of so many children from diverse backgrounds for a picnic, symbolised what his whole political career had been aiming towards — unity and equality for all. Mr. Mandela was so touched by the joy of the children that he could not contain himself and danced with them for many minutes before giving his touching speech to inaugurate the event.
At the same picnic, Thabo Mbeki (Deputy President of South Africa), commented:
“FOOD FOR LIFE is the real Reconstruction and Development Programme. The understanding that if I have a plate of food, let me share it with my neighbour . . . let those who are feeling sad come together with us, and together we can share this burden. This understanding should be taken from FOOD FOR LIFE and transmitted to the entire country.”
On this sad day of the passing of a great human being, we bow down to Mr. Mandela and offer our heartfelt gratitude for his kindness, compassion and extraordinary vision. One way to measure the success of your life is to see how many people’s lives you have improved just by you having lived. Well in Mr. Mandela’s case, we can see he achieved that measure of success many millions of times over. God bless him! <3