Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)

Yesterday, the world lost a great man, leader and idol. 

For me, the picture above symbolises everything that was great about this man. The 1995 World Cup Final was held in South Africa. Rugby was the sport of the white elite, a reminder of apartheid which had only officially come to an end the year before on 27 April 1994 when the first democratic elections were held in South Africa, with people of all races being able to vote.

The jersey it self was a symbol of privilege and separateness. So Mandela, in all his wisdom, made the bold decision to wear the jersey when presenting the Cup to winners South Africa. Thus, Mandela was at one with the people he had fought for and spent 27 years in prison as a result. But more importantly, he was at one with the oppressor. I cannot think of a simpler yet more powerful gesture than this and that is one of many reasons why Nelson Mandela will always be an idol of mine.

R.I.P Madiba

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