With a heavy heart I say #RIP #NelsonMandela – @IdrisElba #Mandela:LongWalktoFreedom

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...I heard the sad news that anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician, Nelson Mandela passed away today.  He was 95.

I was 15 when I first heard the name Nelson Mandela. A reporter on the TV announced “Nelson Mandela has been released from prison”.  I remember the day vividly as this was also the first time I had ever seen my father cry.  My heart sank because I had never seen him shed a tear for anything so I couldn’t understand what just move him to tears.

When I asked him what was wrong my father simply said…’You’re too young to understand’ and wiped away a single tear.

I continued to watch the news that evening to learn why my father had been so touched by this story.  My Dad would have been 28 when Mandela was put into prison so he remembered when they ignorantly stripped Mandela of his freedom.  Fast forward to twenty-seven years later where my father was watching the same man who stood up for his beliefs, a man who looked much older and leaner, who had been battered and abused to say the least, was now walking out to his freedom.

It was on that day that  I took it upon myself to learn about Mr. Mandela and it opened my eyes to his journey.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life in conditions that would be deemed inhumane today.  He spent 27 years of his life imprisoned for standing up for his people and for what he believed was morally right. Twenty-seven years of not knowing if he would have to spend twenty-seven more years imprisoned.

This man is a true hero and legend because with all he went through, he remained determined and was resilient. Though I’m certain there were many dark days where he questioned ‘why’, he never let the walls of injustice imprison his mind or soul.

Shortly after his release,  I had the privilege to hear Mandela speak at Queen’s Park in Toronto.  I was still too young to fullly comprehend all that this man had done for humanity but in my heart, I knew that I had to witness this man’s greatness for myself. It’s a moment that will stay with me for life.

Though it is always a sad day to hear when anyone dies, we must rejoice that this man existed and that are able to talk about his legacy and all that he has done for countless people around the world.

Mr. Mandela, this is for you.

Rise up

Cries of pain from a nation unheard…rise up

Fear that hope is lost…rise up

Life for freedom..rise up

Freedom for life…rise up

Hope that is fearless…rise up

Cries of joy heard from a nation…rise up

#RIP Nelson Mandela.

Here’s the full speech. Nelson Mandela delivered this speech at the Nelson Mandela: An International tribute to Free South Africa concert on 16/4/1990, at Wembley stadium, two months after his release from prison on 11/2/1990. http://youtu.be/jpw8AU3wMsM (speech starts at 5:36)

My boyfriend (a-hem…though he doesn’t know it) Idris Elba brings light to Nelson Mandela’s struggle in “#Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. I’M looking forward to seeing it and honouring Nelson Mandela’s life!