6 December 2013

Nelson Mandela: Remembering a Friend, Role Model, and Humanitarian

12/6/2013: It is with a heavy heart that SOS Children’s Villages learned of the passing of one of our greatest supporters and friends, Nelson Mandela. Father of modern South Africa, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, global icon of freedom, equality, and human rights - Mr. Mandela leaves behind a legacy as one of the greatest humanitarians of our age.

“Nelson Mandela brought hope, forgiveness, and a brighter future to the people of South Africa and the world,” said Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages - USA. “His support of SOS Children’s Villages South Africa and his dedication to the support of vulnerable children around the world speaks volumes about his incredible spirit. We join everyone who has been touched by his life in extending our deepest sympathies.”

SOS Children’s Villages is honored that Mr. Mandela was a long-time supporter or our Villages in South Africa and around the world. The opening of our Village in Cape Town in 1996 was only possible through the blessing of Mr. Mandela, then president of South Africa. During the ceremony Mr. Mandela said, “I am not a good orator, but people believe in what I say. Please continue to help our children in need through the beautiful work of SOS Children’s Villages.”

Mr. Mandela spoke to the nurturing approach of SOS Children’s Villages, and recognized that it reflected the vision and ideals of the South Africa he hoped to build. According to Mr. Mandela, “It is my hope that within this community a culture of understanding, acceptance and love can be nurtured. Let this Children’s Village be an example of tolerance and reconciliation so that we, as adults, can learn from these children.”

At the news of Mr. Mandela’s passing, SOS Children’s Villages Honorary President Helmut Kutin commented, “His life, his persistence, and his suffering for many years in prison speak much louder than any words. He never showed hatred or retribution for his long period of suffering, but promoted humanity, peace and acceptance.”

Madiba, as Mr. Mandela is lovingly known to the people of South Africa, will remain an unforgotten inspiration and role model to the children of SOS Children’s Villages, whom he once addressed directly as, “the future of South Africa. The hope of our rainbow nation.”