Nelson Mandela’s Legacy

As I’m sure many of you have learned, Nelson Mandela died today at the age of 95.

English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo date...
English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo dates from 1937. South Africa protect the copyright of photographs for 50 years from their first publication. See . Since this image would have been PD in South Africa in 1996, when the URAA took effect, this image is PD in the U.S. Image source: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m one of those people who is easily emotionally stirred by whatever it may be: music, societal achievements or injustices, or something as simple as the sight of a ladybug on the concrete steps walking into my apartment. Soft, I know. But in today’s instance, I felt moved by the passing of the beloved leader, Mandela.


His name is on every media headline and his story on every news coverage. His people call him the father of their nation. So, this day evoked a moment of reflection for myself and a message that I feel compelled to share with all of you.

His success and admiration was procured through his great acts of civil service, but his time was filled with persecution and setbacks. Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison, but died as one of the greatest luminaries of all time.

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death,” he said.

This quote resonated with me, as I believe it can with everyone else.

Life is unfair, filled with obstacles and misfortunes, but I believe in the goodness of humanity and have high hopes for our future as individuals, nations, and as a collective world society.

I think hope is what drives progress and encourages unity.

So to all of my fellow CSU students as we continue to struggle through the final weeks of this semester, have hope. Not just right now, not just tomorrow, but an overall outlook of optimism.

May whatever is daunting you, a failing grade, a rent bill you can’t afford, or a wrongful label society has given you, not discourage you or sour your perspective. You are a being of aptitude, vitality, and opportunity.

Today, we remember the life of Nelson Mandela, but tomorrow, I hope that his legacy lives on in us.