My father met Mandela while he was in South Africa in 1996, so being in the country when Mandela passed away felt like a torch was being passed on to me. It was so powerful to listen to our South African friends share what Mandela meant to them. I myself was rather emotional, because it is upsetting when someone we love dies – and this man was loved by the entire world. I do not know if the world will see another man like Mandela, but I have a lot of hope that there will be a string of young leaders that will rise up and follow in Mandela’s footsteps. Many of the young people I met during our journey had so much potential, and with the help of the organizations we visited, these children are finding avenues to reach that potential and go beyond it.
I was surprised to see so many people reacting by choosing to celebrate Mandela’s life, rather than wallow in his loss. I hope that this celebration continues and helps inspire people to make change.