By Shazia Mehboob
South Africa Acting Higher Commissioner to Pakistan Christo Janse Van Noordwyk talks about what are his inspirations from Nelson Mandela’s life struggles.
We ask him what comes in his mind when he thinks about Nelson Mandela.
Q. When you say Nelson Mandela and hear about him, what first comes in your mind?
A: First thing comes in my mind is a strong humility, and also the fact that he was a leader who provided selfless services to his people during his movement. After that, he liberated South Africa from apartheid and also as the first democratic president of South Africa. He continued as a selfless leader that left us with a wonderful legacy.
Q. What made Mandela so important for the people in South Africa?
A. South Africa comes from the very terrible history of division of conflicts and we are still mending the backlogs and effects of the past conflicts. We are still addressing the problems that are still with us like poverty, lack of education and basic services.
The legacy of Nelson Mandela continues to inspire us every day as the South African government and people do the best we can to reduce the backlogs from the course of our history, and also address our challenges of the day, to become the best country that we can be both on foundation laid by Nelson Mandela and other leaders.
Q. What are the lessons that we can learn from Nelson Mandela’s life?
A. I think, what we can learn from Nelson Mandela’s life is he had a principle view of the world and had principle view of what we had to do while leading the liberation struggle. He decided to be informed by solid and good principles that can endure forever and that sense he becomes very special leader of South Africa and someone that left a true legacy that other leaders can follow. It also helps us as South African to continue to be the best we can do what we do where we are blessed.
Q. What was Mandela’s most important accomplishment?
A. The most important accomplishment was South Africa’s peaceful transition from liberation struggles to a democratic country. He prevented a civil war, which almost happened. I think, that was his great contribution due to which the country remained intact and people reconcile and the country becomes a stable democracy.
Q. Why Mandela’s legacy is important for the people in Pakistan?
A. I think Nelson Mandela’s legacy is important for the whole world, including Pakistan or even any country in the world because his principles and values were universal. He followed ideas that are good for all humanity and he made the difference that, in fact, changed the world. H, because he prevented conflicts in South Africa and that example can be followed by other countries in the world.