Nelson Mandela was a natural leader. The essence of the man propelled him to greatness, amidst the suffering and depersonalization to which he was subjected, forgiving his jailers in a profound teaching of compassion.
Though I had adopted the title of "African" American like most of my relations in the Diaspora, I was never more aware of how little I really knew about Africa and this African hero than I was on that day in 1990 he was freed from prison as the whole world watched.
For too many people, the issue of hunger is important but they do nothing about it because it seems too large or complex. As usual, Mandela had a way of conceptualizing this issue in simple terms with a moral imperative that would be hard for anyone to ignore.
Today, we lost one of the world's greatest sons and South Africa's greatest treasure. But now is not a time to mourn his passing but a time to reflect on all he taught us; a time to celebrate that he did indeed live and that we had a chance to know him.
He has been such a forceful presence in our collective minds ... the liberator of South Africa, the global torchbearer for freedom and liberty, the moral conscience of a world plagued by intolerance and violence. Is there anybody of stature today who can carry his torch? Alas, nobody comes to mind.
Because of Nelson Mandela, South Africa became the first country in the world to include constitutional protection for same-gender-loving persons.
I remember the man they call Madiba with great fondness, admiration and gratitude. Not only was he a man who dedicated his life to peace and freedom, he was an incomparable leader who truly understood the power of sport.
Life is a series of falls and rises, mountains and valleys, and pushing and pausing. And as Mandela has shown, our most important years and victories may occur when our hair is gray or gone.
For Mandela, true freedom could only come from forgiveness and a desire to recast the society not from personal or group revenge, but rather from justice, redemption and reconciliation.
Nelson Mandela's determination and steadfast commitment to equality remains an inspiration to activists and ordinary citizens the world over.
If you're like most Americans, you know that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison and emerged without hatred to spearhead a peaceful transfer of power in South Africa. But you probably know nothing about the 1995 Rugby World Cup match.
As leaders of governments and human rights groups from all over the world prepare to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa next week, here is a proposal that would pay worthy tribute to his memory.
As the eulogies for Nelson Mandela begin to appear, it's the perfect moment to reflect on how the U.S. responded to his calls to end apartheid. Today, just as during the bleak days of apartheid, oppressive regimes imprison and harass human rights activists, Mandela's spiritual heirs.
That was Mandela's third visit to Spain, during which he spoke to us about the beginnings of decolonization and the acceptance of the idea that every nation has the right to belong to and participate equitably in the global community. He said that countries cannot be based in the oppression of other nations.
Today is an extremely sad day. Nelson Mandela, one of most courageous leaders, has passed away. South Africa -- indeed, the whole world -- is saying goodbye to a great human being and an incredible inspiration.
Sometimes a one-week vacation just isn't enough, especially when you wake up the last morning of your trip and don't want to leave yet -- it's too soon, and you've just begun to discover what makes your destination so special.