NELSON MANDELA passed away yesterday after an extended illness and a full life of 95 years. He was South Africa's first black president who led the country through a peaceful transition from its white-controlled apartheid regime to a multicultural democratic nation. It's a marvel how peacefully the transformation occurred as blacks and whites consolidated their governmental powers.
Much will be written in the world press about his life -- his vision, his struggles and sacrifice, and his compassionate leadership that enabled a nonviolent transition from oppression to a free nation. Furthermore, I'm personally grateful to have visited the country last year to see first hand the love South Africans felt for him, their nation, and themselves. Mandela's devotion to his native country and its people will endure for generations.
His legacy is a living inspiration everywhere in South Africa from Soweto and the small country burgs to the big cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town.
He will be missed dearly. In Mandela's own words, "What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others …”