Sean Van Staden
Columnist
2 minute read
14 Dec 2013
9:00 am

We must strive to follow in Tata’s footsteps

Sean Van Staden

This week has been a very sad one for South Africans following the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Sean van Staden

An extraordinary man who knew the power that sport possessed to change mindsets and unite people from all cultural backgrounds no matter what their political differences. Mandela used the 1995 World Cup as a platform to unite a country as a whole, and if you ever wondered how great this tactic was, just pause for a moment and think how different our lives would be today without that great milestone.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

That was Mandela’s speech at the 2000 Laureus Sports Awards.

I am not sure if you can feel it, but there is a moment rumbling below the surface. President Barak Obama could not have said it any better when he said: “Mandela: He makes me want to be a better person”.

You almost get the sense that there is going to be a revolution for positive change in a united collectiveness across the world. While the cogs are turning in motion I found some quotes from Madiba that you should live by.

v The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

v I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind.

v The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

v Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

v Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what they had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?

v It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Madiba understood the power that sport had on an individual, a team and a nation. Often battles come in different forms but the challenges, heartaches and triumphs are bitter sweet.. It was not easy being Madiba and few will sacrifice what he did to be on top.

What are you prepared to do to be the best? Are you prepared to get up one more time? Are you prepared to be a better person?

Most importantly, when you are on top what type of person are you going to be? A sportsman that is a role model for the youth in the eyes of Madiba or will the fame and glory go to your head?

There is one thing you can hold close to your heart in any difficult situation you find yourself, know that Madiba fought for you and the spirit of Madiba should be your foundation for humility.