On the Passing of Nelson Mandela

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Today, we join the world in mourning the death and celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was one of the world’s greatest leaders, teachers, and champions for justice – dedicating his life to educating and advocating for freedom. Not only did he accept the insurmountable challenges he often encountered, but he also embraced them with patience and strength.

Even behind prison walls for 27 years, his devotion to dignity never faltered and his teachings never ceased. He brought lessons of equity, unity, peace and grace to his fellow inmates and thereafter, to his fellow countrymen and the world. The achievements and impact he made will never be forgotten. In this, Nelson Mandela is a model of leadership and teaching.

His greatest gift to us is a lesson about freedom. The words of Richard Lovelace come to mind: “Stone walls do not a prison make / Nor iron bars a cage / … If I have freedom in my love / And in my soul am free / Angels alone that soar above / Enjoy such liberty.”

Nelson Mandela is now among the angels; he is free.

Sharon Robinson

President and CEO, AACTE