Readers send messages of love and support to Nelson Mandela

July 18, 2013

The Washington Post asked readers to share their greetings and send in their favorite memories of South African leader Nelson Mandela. Below are a selection of those messages.


A boy paints a message for Nelson Mandela on the wall at Kilimani Primary School in Nairobi. (Dai Kurokawa/EPA)

(Read: South Africans cheer Nelson Mandela's birthday)

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned because he was an educated man in good standing with his community at a time when his training and leadership skills were legally disparaged by the White minority. He spent years breaking rocks on Robbin Island when he could have been making a contribution to South Africa and the world. I am glad he was able to serve a term as President.

My wife and I have traveled to Robbin Island and Soweto and have seen the prison cell and his home. Although he was not present his Spirit filled those places and we feel like we have a connection with him as a result. His message of racial reconciliation has been powerful and an example for communities across the globe.

Madiba: Your life has inspired me and I am thankful that you have been able to see many positive results from the struggle that you so ably led. With great respect and humility I offer you a Happy Birthday greeting along with a prayer for improved health. You are one of the greatest leaders this world has ever known. May peace be with you always.

-- Les Range, Jackson, Miss.

Nelson Mandela, the man who changed the world. "The world's grandpa", as my mother always called him. With the deepest sincerity, I have looked up to Mandela since childhood, taking the lessons he has given us on humanity, triumph, and struggle. Mandela is a man who fought and overcame with a heart full of love and passion, someone who has inspired me to someday become something great.

Mr. Mandela, from the depths of my heart I wish you the happiest birthday I can find. For the man who has served as a light for the world, I hope the rest of your years continue to be filled with the happiness you deserve. To the man who has inspired me though we may never meet, I send all my love and best wishes.

-- Domonique Alexander, Youngstown, Ohio

His life made me believe there is hope in every hopeless situation. That prompted me to persevere during my fathers incarceration in Nigerian prison. After 16 consecutive years my dad was discharged and acquainted though without any compensation.At a point i wanted to give up,but when i remember Nelson Mandela i persevered.I love Mandela brevity and wish him happy birthday.

I wish him happy birthday. I want him to know that he has lived a truly fulfilled life. A life that has impacted the lives of millions if not billions of people. If just 10% of would population will live like Mandela, this would will be a better place to live.

-- Iheanyi Egwuekwe, Wattsville, Va.

Mr. Mandela, in my last year of high school in Canada it was compulsory to produce an independent report for English class. As an 18 year old student living in Toronto I chose to write my paper on your autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Seven years after it is still the most inspirational book I have ever read and has stuck with me to this very day. Your struggle and the hardships you endured in your fight against apartheid should be a prerequisite for every high school student completing their last year. I wish you the best on your 95th birthday and want you to know that you will forever remain a hero in my eyes.

-- Alexander Corbeil, Markham, Canada

In 1992-1993 when I did my higher study in the Netherlands I had a friend, a white South African, a trade unionist. He talked about situation in South Africa and Mandela of course. As we studied politics of Alternative development strategy, we then as a class took the case of South African that would have election and liberated from apartheid, so this assignment so called synthesizing exercise which had a lot of credit for our Masters degree had a real study case, a real country and trough this exercise I studied about Mandela. Another occasion raised again in 1997 when I had a training for 3 months in Tunisia organized by El Taller and Nelson Mandela was part of the group. In fact Mandela came to Tunisia on his way to Libya (I was supposed to meet Khadafi who supported him during anti apartheid movement).

Some of us met Mandela on his way to Libya. There was also young activist, a black South African who participated on El Taller's training and again by engaging with this youth activist I get more insight about Madiba and ANC, South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Overall, what has been affected me is the fact that Mandela moves forward and brings along his nation through very difficult time, almost impossible task but he carry on and on to bring the message of reconciliation and truth. The spirit of Ubuntu that was stay with me and I passed to my 9 years son.

Happy birthday Madiba, I remember the spirit of Ubuntu the African's wisdom that you mentioned in one of your speech long time ago. Ubuntu that we are human beings only trough humanity of other human being. I pass this message when I visited Eden project in Cornwall England when my 9 years old son saw your message on Ubuntu in bio rain forest of Eden project and asked me about it and you. I am grateful that my son is now learning about Ubuntu because of you. May we all never forget the spirit of Ubuntu. Have a splendid birthday, Madiba.

-- Maria Pakapahan, Edinburgh, Britain

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Max Fisher · July 18, 2013