UWC is greatly saddened by the loss of our Honorary President Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century, whose life was an inspiration for our movement and its values of peace and sustainability. Nelson Mandela was the embodiment of our mission statement – perceptively and memorably reminding us all that ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.
We are proud that Nelson Mandela’s children and grandchildren were educated at UWC Waterford Kamhlaba, our sister College in Swaziland, showing his belief in and commitment to the work we do.
What made Madiba, as he was affectionately known, unique in the world today is that he retained many of his values and integrity whilst bestriding the global stage and negotiating the political oscillations of his time with wisdom and grace. Part of his legacy will be the example he set of striving to spread peace and justice in the world, his ability to forgive and inspire others to do the same and his understanding of the role education plays in bringing positive change. We at RCN are part of Mandela’s immeasurable impact and global legacy.
In South Africa and elsewhere in the world, an annual International Nelson Mandela Day is held in July with the simple request that, in return for Mandela’s 67 years of his life dedicated to human rights, individuals give 67 minutes of their time on one day of the year dedicated to humanitarian action – positive change begins with small actions in local communities. It serves as a catalyst for each and every person to realise that they have the ability to change the world through action. I hope that, in discussion with the Student Council, our African students and the whole community, we too can honour at UWC Red Cross Nordic the life and legacy of Mandela with our own implementation of an annual Mandela Day positioned at some point in the calendar year.
Nelson Mandela wrote:
A book of condolences will be available in the Kantine from tomorrow until the end of term – it will then be delivered in person by Ntokozo Yende, one of our current South African students, on behalf of our College to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.
Last night, a powerful storm came across the sea and through the fjords – I like to think that it was the spirit of Mandela passing.
Today, the Norwegian flag on our campus flies in the wind and the snow at half-mast in tribute to Nelson Mandela, our Honorary President.
Richard D A Lamont
UWC Red Cross Nordic