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Today, in celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the world pays homage to someone who has triumphed over adversity and has led the charge in transforming a nation; someone, whose influence and appeal to our better nature has justifiably earned him international recognition and respect for a life truly lived in service of humanity. His Excellency, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, freedom fighter, philosopher, statesman and Noble Peace Prize Laureate, stands in our estimation as one of the true architects of peace in our time. 

We are awed by the stamina, courage, deep reservoir of forgiveness and love for his fellowman, which sustained him in the dark days of Apartheid, and we share his belief that justice and fair play are virtues that not only change the course of an individual’s life, but also that of a nation. 'Madiba' is living proof that one determined life can reverse the tide of deprivation, prejudice and discrimination, so altering the trajectory of a country.  Nelson Mandela has captured our imagination and demonstrated that physical bars cannot imprison a mind and heart intent on positively influencing change in the society. This is the life that has proven that difficult circumstances should not be seen as impediments to the fulfilment of one's potential for greatness. 

Jamaica salutes this living legend, this hero, whose strength of purpose ignited a world and broke the back of apartheid, and still today is a symbol of continuing strength against inequality and injustice. 

In reflecting on Mr Mandela’s life and contribution to humanity, we are all challenged to emulate the actions of this great man striving for growth, development, peace, security and unity in this land we love.

 

Issued by: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade