Roundtable Held On Nelson Mandela’s Legacy

July 21, 2014

Nelson MandelaApproximately fifty-odd residents from various backgrounds gathered at the Cathedral Hall on Friday, July 18th from 12.20 – 1.30 pm for the Roundtable Discussion on the Legacy of the late Nelson Mandela.

An Imagine Bermuda spokesperson said, “That diverse group; young and old, almost 50-50 black and white, were joining other members of the Human Family who were involved in some way in the UN Designate ‘Mandela Day’.

“The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon had urged Global citizens to “…celebrate this day, by helping to address some of the problems in our communities”. Reports are that people in more than 120 countries participated in a variety ways. Glasgow, Scotland, which in 1981 was the first city in the World to award then-prisoner Mandela, the ‘Freedom of the City’, had organized a variety of activities on Friday, on their ‘Nelson Mandela Street’, including a music festival.

“At Cathedral Hall, Lisa [Lister] Reed of the Human Rights Commission laid out the rules of engagement for the Discussion on how Madiba’s legacy might benefit Bermuda. The session was opened with a dramatic piece by 11 yr-old head-student of Saltus Primary, X’achela Robinson, who read her biographical sketch of Mandela, that she had so wisely crafted. She received a standing ovation.

“Elder Statesman, Ottiwell Simmons provided the opening presentation of the Roundtable. He offered an overview of key milestones of Mandela’s journey from the perspective of a veteran of the movement. The former union leader suggests that Mandela’s legacy is one of ‘Moral Leadership’. Ottie added a personal note of how he was brought to tears when he had watched Mandela emerge from prison on that Sunday morning of February 1990.

“Dianna Kempe reported on how she had the opportunity to work closely with Nelson Mandela when she was representing the International Bar Association at a conference in South Africa in 1996. From her first-hand observation, the quality of character that she thought was most impactful was Madiba’s sense of respect for those people with whom he engaged. His obvious sense of reverence for others people was something Dianna thought could benefit us all.

“Tifffany Paynter shared with us that during her teen years she had experienced personal challenges and that a friend of hers had introduced her to the poem ‘Invictus’; which is Mandela’s favourite. Tiffany found that this translates to the example set by Mandela for all of us, reminding us that notwithstanding the difficulties we may face that I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my Soul.

“Glenn Fubler remembered the period of early ‘80’s when not many were aware of the cause of South Africa, but that patient persistence led to an increased momentum. He suggested that Madiba’s legacy of being able to ‘disagree without being disagreeable’ and his capacity to mindfully master his ego, gave the iconic leader the significant leverage in his role of facilitating the transformation of the ‘Rainbow Nation’.

“Stratton Hatfield had spent a period of time working in South Africa in the last decade. From his experience engaging with a diverse group of work colleagues, he found that the legacy that Mandela offers us in Bermuda is the willingness to forgive past injustices. Stratton felt that this is a capacity that he believes can help our society to move forward.

“This drew a response from one of the audience members who posed the question that if a husband who was involved in cheating on his wife, simply comes to her and admits same, without any ‘process’; should there be a simple ‘forgiveness and forget it’. That drew another contribution supporting the idea that there was the need for a ‘process’ to work through the implications of those injustices of our shared past.

“Martha Dismont suggested that in her view that Mandela’s most significant contribution was that ‘love’ be the means for addressing any and all challenges in society. She expressed the view that this pertained to matters relating to family or those addressing wider social and political issues.

“Sen. James Jardine felt that Nelson Mandela offers a Globally-recognized example for those around the World on the best qualities of leadership.

“The session was closed with attendees reflecting on the potential that each of us have to ‘be the change’ that we wish to see in Bermuda and the World. We committed to repeat the exercise of the Roundtable, in other venues in the island in the not-too- distant future.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”

    Nelson Mandela

    • Kunta says:

      They need to have a roundtable discussion on the legacy of Dr. Roosevelt Brown (Pauulu Kamarakafego) a son of de soil.
      No disrespect to Nelson Mandela, its funny how everyone praises him for forgiving but if he would’ve not been broken after 27 years of his life taken away he would’ve have not had an emasculated ideology but de Heart of a Fierce Warrior !!!!!!!!!!

  2. Alvin Williams says:

    ” A Leader must also tend his garden; he too; sows seeds and than watches;cultivates and harvests the results. Like the gardener; a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work;try to repel enemies; preserve what can be preserved; and eliminate what cannot succeed”.

    Nelson Mandela

  3. Alvin Williams says:

    ” I nevertheless felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction… The campaign freed me from any lingering sense of doubt or inferiority I might still have felt; it liberated me from the feeling of being overwhelmed by the power and seeming invincibility of the white man and his institutions…I had come of age as a freedom fighter.

    Nelson Mandela

  4. Alvin Williams says:

    ” Yes I was angry. And I was a little afraid, After all; I ‘d not been free in so long. But when I felt that anger well up inside of me I realized that if I hated them after I got outside that gate than they would still have me, I want
    wanted to be free so I let it go.”

    Nelson Mandela

    • hmmm says:

      You could try applying this one perhaps Alvin and learn from the man.

  5. Alvin Williams says:

    ” Never;never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”

    Nelson Mandela

  6. BlueFamiliar says:

    So much can be learned from this one man’s life.

    Sadly, so many will take his words and twist them to fit their beliefs instead of opening their eyes to another way.

    • Kunta says:

      You mean how a race of people can out right take over your country, steal de resources for personal gain, build up a strong military force to subdue the Natives, murder without conviction, treat them like dogs then lock up de Leader for 27 years turning him from a Fierce Lion to a tame pussy cat !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!