From Soul City, South Africa, December 11 2013:       The Soul City Institute extends its condolences to the Mandela family. Like everyone across the world, we received the news of Tata’s passing with great sadness and disbelief. Although he had been sick for a while, I do not think that we would ever be ready to say goodbye to him.

The Soul City Institute was founded in 1992, two years after Mandela was released. Since then, its mission has been to make a measurable improvement in the lives of the people of Southern Africa. The organization was founded to contribute in making South Africa an equitable, just and free society. This is a vision that Madiba sacrificed his life for and one that he inspired many of us to make a reality. The Soul City television series went on air in June 1994, a month after Madiba was inaugurated as the first legitimate President of South Africa. This was a period of great hope and optimism in South Africa and the Soul City drama captured not only the challenges that this country faced but the resilience of its people to deal with them.

Mandela is well known for his love for children. He would often have parties for children and rallied the private sector, the international community and anyone with influence and resources to invest in the many projects he undertook for the children of Africa. He was most comfortable in the company of children and some of the images of an animated Mandela are those that were taken of him in the company of children. Mandela also inspired so many children. They loved him, aspired to be like him and I think related to him as if he was their own grandfather. His death comes at a time where children from all over the country gather for our annual Soul Buddyz Congress, celebrating what this movement of young people from 8 to 14 years have achieved throughout the year. We will use this opportunity to honour Madiba and the children will pledge what they will do to honour his legacy.

As we mourn the passing of Madiba, we are reminded of the sad reality that Mandela’s dream of a just and equitable society was not realised in his lifetime. The gap between the rich and the poor is wider, gender-based violence and abuse of children is on the rise and many young women are still infected with HIV. Perhaps that is why we had such a larger than life leader in Madiba. His story is known throughout the world and over the years he has inspired the world to give of themselves to make this world a better place. Perhaps the task at hand required that we have a leader of Mandela’s stature to remind us what we ought to do to make his vision a reality.

As the Soul City Institute, we pledge to honour Mandela’s legacy by continuing to make a measurable impact in the lives of the people of Southern Africa. In his own words, "I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter, I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance that I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended."

Rest in peace Tata. We dare not linger; we shall continue your long walk.

The original blog on the Soul City website is available here.