Reflections on Mandela: ethics, purpose and love

Tracey Henry (CEO of Tshikululu Social Investment) |

Across the world we commemorate Mandela’s 100th birthday this month. We remember the enormous sacrifices he made and the impact he had on building a democratic South Africa. It is a time to give back and volunteer time to worthy causes. However, the spirit of Mandela transcends beyond our volunteer-time during July…

For me there are three things that embody the Mandela spirit which inspires the work of Tshikululu on a daily basis.

Mandela had to make many tough choices during his lifetime, many of which impacted him and his family. However, this did not deter him from focusing on the greater good of the nation and doing what was right; a trait of an ethical leader.

Mandela also embodied purpose. We often speak about “our passions” which are about the self: “I am passionate about soccer” or “I am passionate about cooking” for example. Mandela transcended “passion” into a greater purpose that focused not on his self but rather the greater good of the country.

Finally, Mandela embodied love. People are at the centre of everything we do at Tshikululu. It is what inspires us to make a difference. Mandela radiated love for the people of our nation and especially children and the most vulnerable in our society. His example is an important reminder that as we walk through life, be it at work or home, that we do it gently, with purpose, always mindful of doing what is right and doing it from the heart: “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than through acts of retribution.”

Happy birthday Tata Mandela. Your legacy lives on.