Nelson Mandela

nelson-mandela

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural address

http://www.biography.com/people/nelson-mandela-9397017/videos/nelson-mandela-early-life-25564739975

Click here to access the New York Times webpage and learn something about Nelson Mandela.  Watch the videos, read the timereferences and most of all make some notes.  In class we will work together on the key moments of his life.

The interactive timeline may appeal to you too.

Before we start investigating this great heroic figure, we need to understand what Apartheid was and see that racial segregation did not exist in South Africa only, in the United States there were the Jim Crow Laws.

Gary Younge remembers the ecstatic reaction of ordinary voters to Nelson Mandela in 1994 on the campaign trail in South Africa’s first democratic general election. He considers Mandela’s emblematic status in the anti-apartheid movement; his role in the foundation of post-apartheid South Africa; and his status as one of the most transformative politicians of the 20th century.

The Sharpeville Massacre

On 21 March 1960 at least 180 people were injured and 69 killed when South African police opened fire on approximately 300 demonstrators, who were protesting against the pass laws, at the township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging in the Transvaal. The Sharpeville Massacre, as the event has become known, signaled the start of armed resistance in South Africa, and prompted worldwide condemnation of South Africa’s Apartheid policies.
In 1996, on the 26th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site to announce the signing of the new democratic constitution. The day is now commemorated as South Africa’s Human Rights Day.

Listening to his words of wisdom can teach us all so much, his words can definitely change us for the better!


Extracts from Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage at the supreme court of South Africa in Pretoria on 20 April 1964.

An ideal for which I am prepared to die

A-tribute-to-nelson-mandela-maya-angelou-intelrev.com_

maya-angelou-1024x576

Maya Angelou, who knew Mandela when she lived in Africa, was asked by the State Department to write a tribute to that country’s first black president and international civil rights leader as his health was failing.  The State Department unveiled the tribute poem, “His Day is Done,”  written by Angelou for Mandela “on behalf of the American people.”  They first met in 1962 before he was imprisoned. “Yes, Mandela’s day is done,” Angelou said. “Yet we, his inheritors, will open the gates wider for reconciliation. And we will respond generously to the cries of blacks and whites, Asians, Hispanics, the poor who live piteously on the floor of our planet.”

maya-angelou

Below is the video released by the State Department.

Click here to read the poem

Mandela_Tribute-600x350

Now you write your own poem, inspired by the images, videos you watched, by the articles you read.

This is my poem:

Addressing Madiba

You appear to me as an iconic figure

The epitome of resilience

The symbol of hope

The embodiment of forgiveness, understanding and love

Your words made me, a white Italian woman

feel engrossed with new energy after having read your books

I owe you a lot

I am indebted to you as a teacher and as a human being

You taught how brutally crippling the boundaries of the mind are

They lead to the boundaries of the heart

You made me feel less lonely

You made me feel understood

You made me feel human and proud to be so

You made me realize how important it is

Not to take humanity for granted

Human Beings can achieve great things

You are a living proof of this

But they can regress in a state of terrifying beast-like brutality

Plunging humanity back into cultural and moral primitivism

M.ulling over my existence

A.ssessing the role I have played so far on this planet

D.etermined to fight back prejudice, compliance, shallowness to remain human

I.ndignant of the abuse of power

B.affled by sweeping selfish indifference

A.ching for the so many usurpations of human rights in our world

I kneel and in somber hope I pray for more Mandelas to come

Thank you MADIBA

Long live your memory

Long live your efforts

Long live all the South African people who suffered at the hands of a blind and brutish segregation system.

This is a video I found on the Economist webpage, a video whose poetic quality struck me. The way it pays tribute to Nelson Mandela is so powerful that I cannot possibly avoid posting it.

Listen and read Barack Obama’s memorial speech and take notes of the passages that “touch” your mind and your heart.  You can read the full speech if you wish to, should you find it difficult to follow Obama without.  I wish you all a “oneness to humanity”, I wish the word “ubuntu” can lead us all to a new moral rebirth.  Madiba the free could help us free ourselves with our own limits and contradictions.  I hope he will inspire you and change you as much as he did me.  He promped in me a time for selfreflection.  I am not proud with my own life at all, I ask myself this question as a woman and as a teacher.  I know I can do more and I should do more to promote a better way of living our globe, to live in understanding, sharing and friendship.  It is difficult because we are surrounded by greed and individualism that blind us to the point we are not aware we are enslaved to the scary “me, myself and I”.  Let your voices be heard, make a change for the better, be the male and female extention of Nelson Mandela.  We can choose to define a world defined by peace and opportunity.

You may want to listen to other words Barack Obama spoke in commemoration of Nelson Mandela.

You listened to Barack Obama’s words of tribute, you read Maya Angelou’s poem, you can read tons of words of gratitude addressed to Mandela on the web.  Write your letter to him in which you express your ideas as to the impact his ideas and actions may have had on you, the way his example may shape and influence who you are and will become as a man or a woman.

Nelson Mandela held his Nobel Lecture on 10 December 1993, in the Oslo City Hall, Norway.  The transcript will help you.

Writers, Journalists, Film Directors, Singers tried to do their part in their struggle against Apartheid and in their commemoration of Nelson Mandela.

Music can be a wondeful medium to raise people’s consciousness and bring to the forefront the contradictions and hypocrisy of a deplorable system of segregation.

Listen to the song dedicated to Biko and find out who he was.

Choose one of the following films and be prepared to present it to the rest of the class. Select interesting passages. You will have 15 minutes for your presentation. You could use an alternative way to the “traditional” powerpoint presentation. You could use prezi.com

“Invictus” is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It was written in 1875 and published in 1888 in his first volume of poems, Book of Verses.  The title means “never defeated”.  The poem was used by Nelson Mandela in his prison years to soothe his imprisonment under the appalling laws of Apartheid.  This is the reason why the 2009 film directed by Clint Eastwood has this title.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever god may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced not cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

 

 

 

 

 
What do you expect the latest film based on Nelson Mandela’s biography “Long walk to freedom” to be like?

What about the film based on a true story: “The Butler”?  It covers the years from slavery, to racial segregation (the Jim Crow Laws) to Barack Obama’s election.  Really worth watching.

Alice Walker, an American author and activist, wrote the following comments about the film:

Lee Daniels’ The Butler was received in my neighborhood by a packed house, all colors and kinds […].  At the end, there was a rousing, heartfelt offering of applause.   The enthusiasm is well deserved because the acting, everyone’s acting, is superb.  Superb also is the courage to depict realities in our past that don’t often, if ever, make it to consciousness, not to mention to the screen.  For example, there is that haunting early scene in which the son of the plantation owner […] rapes his pale skinned sister, who happens to be the mother of Cecil Gaines, the butler-to-be.  When her husband, prodded to make a stand by his young son, utters a single sound about what has happened, the white man, clearly a sociopathic crazy person as many slave owners and over-seers of slaves and later of sharecroppers had to be, shoots him dead.

This reminded me of a story my mother told me very late in her life; late, because it was apparently an unspoken rule among many Southern black people not to talk about white people, at all, especially to their children.  It was about how she and her five sisters avoided being raped by white men on their way to or from church. It was understood that her six brothers, who walked beside them, could not protect them.  For the same reason young Cecil Gaines’ father was afraid to protest the abuse of his wife.  So what did my mother and her sisters do:  they peeled off in different directions and outran their would-be rapists, who were often on horseback. I’m sure neither you nor I wish to think of this.

A couple of years ago I was part of a Freedom Flotilla that attempted to bring aid and expressions of caring to the blockaded people of Gaza.  We were turned back by armed commandos of the Greek coast guard.  An artist on our boat had made caps for us to wear that had the words STAY HUMAN printed on them.  The ability of our parents and grandparents, our ancestors, to stay human in situations where it would have made more sense to go mad, strikes me often as miraculous.  But yes, they stayed human.  That is what the butler did. (source: http://alicewalkersgarden.com)

This is the reason why I decided to work on Apartheid and racial discrimination with you.  I want to stay human.  I would love you to stay human.  Surrounded by lots of students who simply do not care, surrounded by a few who when I uttered the word “Apartheid” looked at me as if I had mentioned a neologism, I realized that it is paramount for me as a teacher to withstand the new wave of cultural analphabetism and human indifference.  I will fight back this loathsome state  of apathy, this lack of empathy, and borrowing from Nelson Mandela’s words, I cry out: “this is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.

Look at Emanuele and Matteo’s prezi presentation on the film “Mandela and De Klerk”:

http://prezi.com/tui9gwbxvwl6/mandela/#

Another intersting prezi presentation done by some students of a colleague of mine, really worth looking at:

Questa voce è stata pubblicata in Debating issues. Contrassegna il permalink.

78 risposte a Nelson Mandela

  1. MartinaBravin scrive:

    Martina Bravin: “A light called Madiba”

    It was the night,
    without stars,
    without a sunset,
    without dawn.
    It hasn’t got any light for forty-five years:
    just a glimmer lit up those days.
    A faint light behind the bars of a small cage, from the little eyes of a big, strong, rare, beautiful creature:
    as an African elephant.
    Someone thought it was dangerous, others he was precious.
    But he didn’t have any weapons, he didn’t have any enemies,
    some humans were his enemies instead.
    He was the strongest creature in Africa, he had no fears
    but human’s ignorance.
    He wasn’t alone, though!
    He was an elephant, he had a herd,
    He was an African creature, he had the spirit of Ubuntu.
    He was the invictus, he had an unconquerable soul.
    If “a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight ”
    “a winner is a dreamer who never gives up” . He dreamed.
    And the peace didn’t remain a dream.
    In this Darkness he brought light among human beings,
    Rationalism,
    Oneness,
    The sharing of ourselves with others:UBUNTU.
    He showed us we can choose a world defined by our common hopes.
    We can make his life’s work our own!
    We have to fight!
    We can become the new light!

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Martina your poem is proof of the fact that a desperate teacher like me (desperate because lots of students seem to give no heed to my words, seem to oversee my efforts) should never give up hope. You wrote a touching poem, you wrote it in beautiful English and I am so very proud of your “creature”. I am sure Mandela would have been pleased of reading it. I hope you will be the new light and I hope Mandela’s teachings will turn you into a “stronger creature”, the “strongest” creature in Italy (to quote from your poem). Thank you for working hard. I am looking forward to reading your letter to Madiba.

  2. Matteo scrive:

    Ode to Nelson Mandela

    Nelson Mandela was one of the best moral figures in our contemporary world
    A man that fought for his ideas
    Ideas that at the time were considered “impossible”
    He demonstrated that Everything is possible
    He demonstrated that all human beings are equal
    He demonstrated that war is useless to achieve what you want
    He demonstrated that you can do everything with peace
    He demonstrated that big changes in the world can be made
    He demonstrated that you can become “eternal” if you do important things
    Though discrimination is not ended, Black people are considered people
    With his brilliant mind Madiba was able to stop Apartheid
    In our society discrimination is a big problem
    Discrimination against the blacks, against the immigrants, against people of the same country: the North and the South!
    It’s difficult to stop racism and live in an equal world
    But people like Mandela can make the impossible possible
    He demonstrated the world that the blacks are human
    That every being has the same rights as YOU.
    Thank you for everything you did for our world

    We will never forget you: GOODBYE MADIBA!

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Dear Matteo, a heart-felt poem. It would be great if in class you could express the deep feelings that you disclose in your poem to Madiba.
      I made some corrections and I hope you approve of them. You wrote your poem more like a “narrative” piece than a “poetic” piece. However, as a first attempt to writing poetry, congratulations!

  3. Luana Linossi scrive:

    Ode to Nelson Mandela:

    Madiba.
    A word, a man, a leader, the biggest leader.
    The leader of peace, of brotherhood.
    A sweet fire against the bad whites.
    A black man that loves us, OUR heart,
    NOT our skin colour.
    He is the star, the Moon, the Sun.
    He is the symbol of peace.
    No violence, only love.
    Madiba.
    A word, a man, mankind’s father.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Next time try to reread the poem before you post it. There were lots of mistakes and it was a pity, since the poem is so powerful. I liked it truly. In this poem you express depth and understanding you rarely reveal in class. Why? Is it easier to write a poem than expressing your feelings and ideas in class? Perhaps so. Whatever the answer, I am happy of the results.

  4. Elisa Angelica Farinola scrive:

    My poem for Madiba

    MANDELA THE LION
     
    Listen to my words, wherever you are, words of a young girl far away from you
    But close to your heart.
    MANDELA – the lion,
    You are not alone,
    You are the Messiah
    Abolishing repression
    Not to establish another
    But to finally bring peace.
    You have abolished the eternal dualism between the whites and the blacks!
    You have deleted differences not only of color but also of ideals and mentality,
    Because “different” is not bad, it is not wrong, but part of the same entity: HUMANITY.
    To reunite it in its original rainbow,
    To bury sordid poverty, especially that of the mind
    In a land free
    For the love of the heart and the soul.
    When will the roar of your hope come to us all?
    Hope of a land without racism?
    Mandela – the lion
    Your kingdom will demand.
    One day, maybe, one day we will all have your qualities.
    This is not a dream, this is how it could be.

    Bye Madiba, thanks for having taught us what “Freedom” means.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I love the title, it fits Mandela perfectly well “Madiba, the Lion”. He was certainly a fighter, who could be as fierce as a lion when he had to.

  5. Madalina scrive:

    The father of us all

    When I came here I was young,
    I was too busy to realize how much my parents suffered for me.
    They had left their Home to offer me a better future
    They had fought to give me everything I needed
    They never asked me for anything in exchange
    They love me and they never wanted anything more than love.
    And that was the same with you, Mandela,
    You are the father of us all
    You accompanied human beings during their hard times
    Your words will resonate for future generations too
    You sacrificed yourself for us
    You loved your ideals
    That is the nature of unconditional love
    You had never asked us for anything in exchange, if not respect for one another
    Thanks to your struggles today is a better day.
    It is not over yet.
    We will still have to fight,
    But you taught us the right path towards peace.
    We can still do it, we can realize the world you dreamed of
    So that you will be proud of your children

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Your parents did not ask you for anything because they knew you would give them whatever you could. You are a sensitive intelligent woman and this poem is evidence of this.

  6. Chiara scrive:

    Nelson Mandela
    One of the last heroes of our society

    You were an icon of hope

    You make me understand that nobody is inadequate and that impossible things may become possible if we are honest to human principles

    You never bowed before difficulties

    You were unafraid of your destiny

    You never gave up

    The power of your words defeated the most atrocious forms of violence

    And this is why you changed the world

    And even if your fight looks unreal to me, so far from your life and pain

    I acknowledge you like as a star that lit up our world and you will shine forever for everyone who loved and respected you

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I like it when you mention that though Nelson Mandela’s fight and pain do not touch you directly (you live in a different country and you are white, thus you have never been subjected to racial discrimination), yet they teach you a lot

  7. Veronica Pignat scrive:

    AN EXAMPLE

    You are

    A guide to me
    I want to follow you

    I get easily discouraged
    BUT

    You gave me proof

    That Life’s Obstacles

    Can be overcome when you really want to

    Your death is a big loss for

    humankind

    But your example will remain forever in our
    Hearts

    You had a dream

    You realized it

    After 27 years of prison, you found the
    Strenght to become the first South-african
    President
    elected after the battle against
    Apartheid

    We all have a dream

    It is up to us
    Realize it

    Nothing is impossible, As you proved me

    I will remember you with

    This your phrase: ” A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Mandela will always be a great example of resilience, courage, capability of love, humanity, honesty, sensitivity, patience, faith in mankind. You are right.

  8. Giulia Fren scrive:

    Ode to Mandela

    Oh Madiba, Where did you find the strength and the courage
    to lead your people?
    Where did you learn the long way that leads to freedom?
    Only very few people dared the impossible and became “invictus”
    both in life and death.
    You taught us to hold on in every situation, to trust our dreams.
    Madiba, you were the chief of your tribe
    and you became the moral leader of all mankind.
    You taught us a big lesson: we can see humanity in everybody, even in the worst of men.

    For future generations your example will be a guiding light.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Hope Madiba will guide you through your life as your pen stated in the poem.
      Long live his example.
      Nice ode.

  9. Emanuele scrive:

    A tribute to Nelson Mandela

    You were a fighter
    you were a boxer
    but all the things you did
    you achieved them with the power of language and you never used violence.
    You fought against apartheid,
    against black discrimination, against a legislation that preserved white supremacy,
    for these ideals you were prepared to die
    but you did something bigger
    you spent twenty seven year in prison
    proving that if you truly want something you get it through sacrifice.
    Only a few people are important like you,
    they can be counted on the fingers of one hand
    You had the ability to change the mindset of humanity
    Now the world is orphan of a great person
    the world has lost his black father
    No one will ever forget
    Your love, your ideals, your honesty, your respect of life
    thanks for having existed Madiba and for having helped humanity.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Nice tribute. Hope he has changed your mindset too. Find your own way, the sooner the better. You can make a difference too. Everybody can make a difference. This is Mandela’s message, isn’t it?

  10. Giulia Marson scrive:

    The change

    We can choose,
    We should choose,
    We must choose for our freedom.
    FREEDOM
    The freedom to be who we really are,
    who we want to be, creators of our destiny.
    Doubts and fears are in common, why criticize our neighbors?
    Differences divide those who are afraid.
    Differences unite those who are unbowed.
    Tears and death will not serve
    if we do not have the courage to react
    Get up
    Stand up
    and make a change
    that change which will make a man able to listen to his heart first
    Do good
    search for good in people around you
    Denounce violence.
    Live love.
    Mandela, great man and master, taught us this,
    the man who revolutionized the world with his voice and no weaponry

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Effective title and interesting way of developing the poem. Your reveal the addressee of your poem at the end. Nice.

  11. Leonardo Bidoia scrive:

    Scent of Peace

    Thanks Madiba.
    Saying thank you is never easy
    above all in my case.
    You have changed my perception of diversity,
    my belief of superiority.
    Even though I haven’t known the man,
    I grasped your message
    and I hope it is so for the whole world.
    You were able to transform
    hatred emanating from your country
    in the scent of peace.
    That is why I will not forget you.
    Thanks Madiba.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Thank you for being so honest, Leonardo. Most people claim they are not racialist, they deny their sense of superiority. You, instead, admit your change. I am happy to see that the reason why I try to promote diversity in the classroom is worthwhile. The poem is genuine and for this reason original.

  12. RIGUTTO TOMMASO scrive:

    OUR LIVES WITHOUT YOU

    My eyes are full of tears
    I wonder what our lives will be without you
    But then your image appears to me
    You’re like a desert rose
    It’s there for ages without fear
    It struggles the coldest nights and the hottest days
    But like you, it survives
    And you will always be there in my heart
    You made me understand how important life is
    How important it is to have faith in our beliefs
    To never let go
    To keep on fighting for what is right
    We must not allow the few to abandon the ones who
    aren’t as lucky to have a dignified life
    Who are we to decide what is right or wrong?
    Who are we to judge?
    No one should live in misery or poverty
    Everyone should be free and equal
    Determination and fighting against discrimination will lead us to a better world
    The journey to succeed in this is still long
    You have left us alone
    Without you we’re like sheep without their shepherd
    But then when I look deeply into my heart I feel your strength
    The power of a simple man which changed the world
    So I wipe away my tears and I smile to a better world

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      So happy to read the kind of impact Mandela has had on you, young man. Smile to a better world and do something to make it better. There is not Mandela now, but his words can all infuse us with the convinction that if we all do something, if we all fight for a just cause, our eyes will be filled with the joy of success!

  13. jessica scrive:

    To Nelson Mandela

    Where there was once fear, you brought strength
    Where there were once predjudices, you brought tolerance
    Where there was once resignation, you brought hope
    When nobody thought it possible, you did
    When nobody dared, you acted
    You overcame difficulties and human limits
    You swept away difficulties
    You smashed cultural, economical, political bounds
    You chased away the darkness of violence to welcome the light of love
    And we welcome your light as the way out of all woe
    We will never be grateful to you enough
    This is not the end
    You marked the way
    You gave us the means
    You gave us the opportunity to grow up together
    You gave us the possibility to reach our aims
    To understand before judging
    To reflect before acting
    To try before giving up
    This is what you passed on us
    To believe in myself as a human being
    To believe in love
    “I” without “you” doesn’t exist
    The length of the path I’ve to face doesnt’ frighten me any more
    I’ve so much to learn
    But I’m not alone because I believe in the power of education, in the importance of history
    And I do believe in an imminent “ubuntu life”
    A grateful thought to you, Nelson Mandela.
    Your light will never stop shining

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      These two lines moved me deeply:
      “I” without “you” doesn’t exist
      And I do believe in an imminent “ubuntu life”
      You have grown under my eyes and I am so proud of the very special woman you have turned into.
      Your poem is the mirror of your blooming soul.

  14. Stefano Ciotti scrive:

    Ode to Mandela

    Only black people can change our soul
    One, in particulary, did: Nelson Mandela.
    Mandela’s story can seem incredible to our eyes
    He is the symbol of freedom
    He fought for equal laws
    His body was imprisoned for 27 years,
    but his identity didn’t alte,
    His soul stayed healthy and hearty.
    Mandela wanted all people to have the same rights,
    Mandela didn’t want the supremacy of anybody,
    Mandela wanted equality for all people
    He didn’t care about people’s colour of skin
    He cared for people
    He persued justice all his life
    and he obtained freedom with his intelligence
    and without violence.
    Right now we have a great opportunity:
    we can study and remeber Mandela’s story.
    He was a beautifull person.
    Thanks Mandela for what you did to make our world a better place to live in.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I would not say that just black people can change the world (Nelson Mandela would not agree with this since this would exclude other peoples). His creed is the creed of a man for the benefit of all human beings.
      I enjoyed reading your poem, I appreciate the efforts you put into writing it.

  15. Mattia De Camillis Baiocchi scrive:

    The Man who made the world change
    The Man who changed the world

    The Man
    The winner of a great award
    The award of putting aside Racism
    The one who believed in what a single man can do
    Nelson Mandela is this man
    A man who spent 27 years waiting for his victory to come
    27 years marked his existence
    27 years of suffering
    In spite of everything he wanted no revenge
    He wanted to persue his beliefs
    His ideals
    His battle
    He talked to white people in a new language to them
    He showed we can act without resorting to violence
    A great man inspired people all over the world
    A great man dedicated all his life to defeat Apartheid
    Thank you, Mandela.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I find it effective the way you mark 27. It sticks out in the text.
      The title is effective too ( I had to make some changes, but I think the essence has not changed). Let me know whether you agree with the “suggestions” or not.

  16. Basma Saykouk scrive:

    Humanity Will Rise Again

    My greatest wish is to live in a world of Freedom and Peace,
    where our Souls and Minds are set free.
    Sometimes Inadeguate I feel, Scared
    of Prejudices against those who are considered “different”
    Nelson Mandela smiled at the stigmatization of diversity
    He guided us with his own feelings and soul,
    He gave us the chance to witness the change of the whole world
    with the help of God.
    Many tears have been shed for this Day,
    many sacrifices have been made and shared for this Day.

    The day of Freedom, of Glory. Cried Glory.
    And now, Unafraid I feel, with You by my side.
    Saving the word from the hypocrisy of Racism, Ignorance and Injustice,
    it is our mission today. Our turn, today.
    Because we are the Masters of our destiny, we are in charge of our life and soul.
    Humanity will rise again, We will rise again.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Humany will rise again to keep fighting against prejudice and to continue Mandela’s example. Right? Is this the meaning of your title?

  17. Simona Mastrapasqua scrive:

    THE LODESTAR

    I’m in the dark about past truths,
    but one thing is sure,
    Mandela, a man of integrity
    is a symbol of peaceful uprising.

    His power consisted of education and composure.
    He aroused pride,
    admiration and courage.

    His struggle gave assourance and faith
    to those who fought for equality.
    He laid a significant milestone
    on human cognition.

    Every person shall inherit his skills.
    This is my dream, my BIG dream!
    Thank you Mandela for teaching me that
    “I am the captain of my soul.”

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Powerful title for a powerful man with a powerful message
      Our beacon, our guiding light, our North Star!

  18. Francesca Lovisa scrive:

    Madiba: an eternal flame

    Thrown into mysterious South Africa,
    In a silent search,
    Warm colors,
    Infinite skies and spaces,
    We look for you.

    The one who joined and collected
    Infinite stories,
    Testimony of many lives.

    The earthquakes and winds of life
    Never brought you down,
    You fell and got back on your feet.

    You exposed the tricks,
    You distinguished true ideals from fake ones,
    You fought political wars,
    You denounced social emergencies.

    Holding hands
    You took us far away,
    Where light, joy, unrealistic dreams
    Are fulfilled wishes
    And fear and pain
    Are just memories.

    Now you are not here anymore.
    An invisible veil
    On what will happen,
    On what will be.

    But in the wind there is still hope
    And strength
    For a journey towards immortality.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      The journey towards immortality is the journey that will commemorate Nelson Mandela for ever? Is this what you mean? I am curious to know! I loved reading your poem.

  19. Basma Saykouk scrive:

    -Letter to Nelson Mandela-

    “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”,this speech was yet
    given in 1997.
    And here we are in 2014, since 1948 still fighting with war, between
    the Palestinian and the Israelian. Wars,fears and tears,pain,Palestine is the Apartheid of Today.

    Children and poors are killed everyday; the Palestinians are segregated in their own state, and they are divided by a big wall from the others. And I really hope;that one day it will be find an accord to peace.

    I’m writing to You today,to tell you that we need;someone like you in palestine or Israel, that could be able to stop this legalized genocide ,without violence or any form of terrorism. A peaceful warrior.
    Someone that will stop terrorism;an wars attacs;and deal with this mondial issue,with intelligence and rationality.

    And I respect you,for having considered this question;a mondial issue that many autorities ignore,and took a firm stand of boycott,against the “state” of Israel.
    And I respect you more;when I know that you was able to obtain Peace;without using even a gun. But where we could find someone like you? Able to find peace just with the power of words?
    In Southafrica;1990 you were able to defeat the Apartheid;just with non-violent strikes and boycotts. And Thank you for all the values that you taught to the hole humanity; countless generations will learn about You,and your magnanimity.

    With You in our hearts;we will continue the peaceful struggle against the segregation in Palestine,favoring the establishment of a secular state, and peaceful coexistence between the two populations. But we learned from Your story;and your twenty seven years of imprisonment;that victories are always obtained, with a great effort and commitment.

    Just such a big heart and mind,could say such an important and profound speech;about Palestine. Just who lived in a place of fear and horror,suffering; is able to know and praise the real value of Freedom. Just people;who has lived segregation in South Africa,could exactly know how palestinians live and feel day by day.
    Im sure,on day,with the help of God;someone could learn from your example,and could save us From the terrible situation of Palestine.

    You will always remain the most courageous Fighter.

    Pray for us. Rest in Peace.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Dear Basma,
      A very personal letter indeed and a letter that casts light on a deep wound in your heart. I mourn with you, I sympathise with you the pain Palestinians are experiencing and living. You wonder who could be the leaders in Palestine and Israel that put an end to sufferings, that pull down that wall of shame. One of those leaders could be YOU. You could be the female version of Mandela’s hopes and dreams, you could be the female version of Mandela’s great achievement in South Africa: freedom without bloodshed, freedom in peace!

  20. Elisa Angelica Farinola scrive:

    My letter for Nelson Mandela:

    Pordenone, 17th January 2014
    Dear Madiba,
    I think it is a shame to write to you only now that you’re not here with us anymore, but anyway I wanted to thank you for making me think. I thought on many things in these days.
    The first question that I’ve made ​to myself on ​my way home the day when for the first time we talked about you at school was: “But why there is racism?”
    I like to give answers to questions, I don’t bear unanswered questions.
    And the answer was just like that: “Because when we do not know the “different”, we have fear (xenophobia), we have fear of other customs and manners which are different from ours, we can not understand them and then we criticize or hate them. The only weapons against racism (which starts from ignorance) are the information and the desire to understand the difference, that in fact does not exist.”
    But unfortunately only a person of great courage like you managed to at least partially overcome this bad habit . Yes, because there is still racism, but you surely already know this.
    I have a lot of respect towards you, because I could not do such a thing, I feel too small in this world. But you have succeeded as a great figure, like a father to all of us!
    I really hope that one day someone will literally take you as an example, it should be the majority of people to be like you and not viceversa..
    Thank you for everything you’ve done, now I can say I have grown a little more and this topic helped me a lot, not only at school for my English but mainly to grow personally, as a person.
    You will remain indelible in the story, do remind it, bye Madiba.
    Elisa

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Dear Elisa,
      Through Mandela I learnt that courage lies in living our values the fullest, that courage lies in admitting fear in our lives but not being slaves to them.
      Racism does not breed just where there is ignorance. If it were so, there should be no racism among intellectuals or widely-read people. Racism derives from the fear of losing one’s power, racism derives from a deviated and deviating cultural hegemony. There seems to be an invisible hierarchy among humans, a hierarchy founded on power. Those who are in power do not want to give it up and thus they pass down on their kids the sense of superiority that breeds racism (which, by the way, is not linked to the colour of the skin only. There is racism among people of the same nation, of the same skin colour, of the same religion, but of a different social class).
      You can make a change, Elisa. Go back to Mandela’s speech and reread it. He says we can all make a change. Perhaps you will become a mother, a wife: you will breed values. You will work: you will breed and spread values. Thus, if those values are in tune with Mandela’s, then you will be Mandela’s spokeswoman! See, you are not “little” at all. Many drops together can fill an ocean!

  21. Francesco Bortolussi scrive:

    A spark in the night
    The sun rises in flight
    Even if HE had been locked behind iron bars
    His dream was not overlooked.

    He hoped for a better future
    they called him terrorist
    He was a victim of rapture
    He was an idealist.

    Many years he waited in silence
    studying hard, learning a lot
    because he was different
    He had to follow his plot.

    A spark in the night
    The sun rises in flight
    Even if HE had been locked behind iron bars
    His dream was not overlooked.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I appreciated the layout, the division in 4 stanzas of 4 lines each. I assume this is no coincidence. I cannot quite grasp what you mean by “he was a victim of raputure”.

  22. Andrea Moras scrive:

    ODE TO MADIBA

    In a far away land
    In the south of the world
    Where injustice and fear reigned
    A man arised from the haunted
    He fought for justice and dignity
    Even if he suffered twenty-seven years in prison
    In the end he won his battle
    His name was Nelson Mandela
    Called from his commons Madiba
    He defeated the oppression of the white in South Africa
    And he made the black people free
    Free from Apartheid
    Your teachings are an example for everyone
    Thank you Madiba
    For your strength
    For your humilty
    For your sense of justice
    Anyone must follow your example
    Your death is a very big loss in our lives
    South African people lost their beacon
    We will never forget you Madiba
    You will live in our hearts forever
    Your teachings will be preserved in our hearts and minds
    And your words will resonate in our ears forever
    We will miss you
    Rest in peace
    Forever
    THANK YOU

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Really nice Ode. You wrote it as a sort of summary of Nelson Mandela’s life and you emphasised his striking qualities.

  23. Laura scrive:

    I’m writing to congratulate on the teacher and the students for this post that shows loads of commitment, effort and sensitivity. Well done!
    Laura

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Thanks for your heart-felt and much-cherished support. You were the one who prompted me. I know so little about the use of technology, but you are a great example for me. Thank you.

  24. RIGUTTO TOMMASO scrive:

    Letter to Mandela
    Ciao Madiba,
    I just wanted to say a few words to you and. Even if we never met before it’s like I’ve known you my entire life. I personally admire you for all the things you have done and how you managed to fight for your beliefs without giving up. I think that if we want a better world , we need to start asking ourselves if we are doing enough to change it. As teens we can’t change what is going on in the rest of the world, such as wars, discriminations, poverty , it’s too difficult. What we can do though, is change ourselves and what is happening near us. We have to stop racism within our cities. It’s not a matter of the color of our skin, it’s a matter of being equal. I personally don’t care how a person looks on the outside for me it’s important how a person is on the inside, that is what makes the difference. Each of us is equal and equal means the same. If we understand this starting from our childhood racism will have no reason to exist. Once we have achieved this goal, which by the way, Madiba, as you personally know, takes ages, we can think of changing the rest of the world. But then it won’t be necessary because if all young people around the world start fighting against racism where they live at the end it will be defeated and the world will be a better place.
    Oh, Madiba, what a wonderful dream. I hope that many will follow your footsteps, well I certainly will.
    Ciao again my dear friend, rest in peace
    A hug from your friend
    Tommaso

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You can certainly make a great change around you Tommaso and this contribution would be admired by Mandela!

  25. MartinaBravin scrive:

    Dear Mandela
    I’m a young Italian girl and when I was born you have just reached one of your huge aims, to have the same right of voting for black people. So you had have become the first black president of South African Republic.
    I always thought you and your country were a far reality from me, but now I have realized that racism is a so actual theme in Italy, despite our democratic constitution and our harsh past of persecution by Nazi and Fascist regime.
    Integration among people from different culture is not so entrenched, in fact prejudices are surviving especially against people that belong to religions diverging from Christianity and that come from poorer countries than Italy.
    Few people remember that also Italian community emigrated in the early years of the 19th ,but if we observe better our current situation, we could realize that also today we are emigrates in other European country. And so I have reflected how I could feel in a foreign country, how emigrates could fell in our country, but above all how you could fell in your country, where you were a native but a foreigner has forced you to feel misplaced.
    I have recognized into immigrants’ eyes the same hope and faith that moved you in your struggle for a better life and for more consideration by Whites. I don’t know if all actual immigrants know you but I’m sure that, especially African people, know and had that spirit of solidarity and that bravery that animated your soul.
    You were a little ray of hope, but you won for all Africans and you have taught me to never give up in front of difficulties, because we can do everything when we pursue right ideals and the sense of justice. We have to prepare also to die for an ideal, in front of the apathy and nihilism of our society.
    We have to be the “invictus” as you Madiba. I have to thank you because you have opened doors to do changes all over the world.
    Now a black American president can thank you for the chance to govern in a one of the most racist state of the recent past, birthplace of Ku Klux Klan.
    But also a little Italian girl can thank you for the possibility you have given her to experience new customs, cultures and a best way to think social life.
    Now I feel as an harmony part of the entire world, into communion with it.
    Besides how Barack Obama has said in your valediction, I could search for your strength in my daily routines, where I often believed that some obstacles are biggest to be faced.
    Last but not least thing I have learnt from you is certainly that to be a value person, with success, doesn’t matter what I have, how money I earn and how people consider me, because if I want I can be and do everything, when I believe in myself and in the relationships that I have established with others.
    Thank you Nelson, you will remain the light that inspired our world especially now that you see us from the haven, the leader or pushovers and an example of justice for mighty.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      What a deep letter Martina! You make me proud of you. Mandela’s touched your deeply and your words touched me. Mandela, from up above (as you point out) is certainly watching us all and he is certainly smiling at you. His strength touched you, your letter along with the letters of your classmates, would certainly reinforce his strength and the belief that his personal sacrifice was worthwhile.

  26. Francesca Lovisa scrive:

    Dear Nelson Mandela,
    I write to you, a man who lived his whole life following his principles and ideals. You spent all your life trying to overcome prejudices given by the demanded superiority of the white “race”.
    What do we live for? For some people the answer is life itself with its mysteries. What do you think? Between defeats, errors, making breakthroughs you showed that the walk towards personal freedom for victims of racial discrimination is long and tough.
    Today very few people consider themselves racist, we are all sympathetic and ready to understand yet the definitive destruction of prejudice against skin colour is still almost an utopia.
    You created the occasion for us to listen the opinions of the oppressed and by exposing yours you demonstrated how numerous are the similarities between men beyond the colour of their skin.
    Your heavy moral legacy now lives through us, we will keep standing for your ideals, trying to make the world a better place.
    You will always live within those who keep fighting for justice.
    Francesca

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Mandela fought for equal opportunities, he fought for human rights. Equal opportunities and equal rights are hard to achieve, but not impossible (as he is proof of). He kept fighting for this belief and he won. As you point out: Mandela will be the moral leader and example for those who fight for justice and I am sure you are among them.

  27. Luana scrive:

    MY LETTER TO N. MANDELA.

    Dear Nelson Mandela,
    I admire you.
    I think that you are a symbol of hope, a point of reference for all those who are in a time when they do not see to their own lives. Many of us lose hope in front of small things, but you, Madiba, you did not break down left by the long years of captivity, we’re also for those who have lost hope and the strength to fight, who are no longer able to practice solidarity.
    Your captivity was certainly an oblivion for your desire to affirm the equal sign of the rights to your people, the colored. Them. Those that society has always considered inept , an object, a symbol of their power. You wanted to end this . You did it , although it is always a struggle to be able to change the mind of those who are fully convinced cha is only his word to have a weight. You managed to hit and knock down the walls of white society in South Africa demonstrating to them as a leader who is their equal , even superior in terms of emotional , empathetic .
    Anyone would be crashed out from that experience, but you have the strength, despite the seventy years that you were at the time of your liberation, to fight and lead your people to victory against racism and the infamous regime dell’apatheid. The apatheid was the disaster that has allowed you to understand your value as a man.
    Be was, unfortunately, a bad father to your children, but you have been the natural father, the wing protettric for the entire South African nation, and then be able to do so for the whole world.
    But I think anyone who reads your story will find strength and hope and resignation that exceed that sometimes paralyzes us . Your life teaches that violence serves no purpose . It teaches that justice is stated , as well as the passion , patience , dedication and intelligence. I would like to see more people participating and not resigned , many more people , who like you and your people are united in pursuing those values ​​of solidarity , equality , freedom and brotherhood which all too often are forgotten . I sincerely hope that the example of your life will inspire reflection, dialogue , want to change . I hope , dear Madiba , that tomorrow is indeed another day , and if that will happen , it will be because , despite what some would have us believe , and you’re not dead , but … are always with us. You will always be in our heart of humanity, will be the fireworks of a summer evening in all its power rises in the sky , leaving everyone with his mouth open , you will be the Northern Lights Nordic . You’ll always be enclosed in everything that is strong but at the same time deadly , you will always be the point of reference that will push us to not give up , you’ll be the hand that moves us in those dangerous situations, with almost no chance of success .
    Thanks for everything, Nelson.

    With love,
    Luana

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      At times it is not easy to understand what you mean, there seems to be some contradictions. For example in the end you seem to have a pessimistic approach to life, but you mention that Mandela taught you to have hope. I am sure you meant something different, perhaps you wanted to say that those situations that apparently seemed to have no way out, if faced with optimism and faith in peace, can be overcome and you can achieve success (that is you can achieve your objectives). Then, at times, you use words that imply a violent approach to life:
      “You managed to hit and knock down the walls of white society”. I am not Mandela’s biographer, I cannot state with certainty that perhaps he would never have used “hit” and “knock down” referring to the need to put an end to white supremacy in South Africa.
      Last but not least you say: “the apatheid was the disaster that has allowed you to understand your value as a man”. Mandela certainly learnt a lot about himself while in prison, but he alrady knew his value as a man, otherwise he would not have been able to oppose the brutish Apartheid Laws and he would never have sacrificed his family’s happines, his personal happiness for the sake of his nation.

  28. Matteo scrive:

    Dear Mandela,
    I want to start this letter with an easy question: “Who wish to be like you?”
    I think that everybody should wish to be a man that with his ideals was
    able to change his and his people’s life. A man with a big heart that renounced
    at violence in all cases. I’m one of that people that wants to follow your footsteps
    so as to leave my life and my work in history books. I know that it’s almost
    impossible, but as you taught me the impossible can be possible, if you want it.
    If you were in life and I know you personally, certainly I would have asked you
    to inspire me, to teach me and to be my datum point.
    But I know that this will never happen that you made supernatural things but
    at the end you were only a man.
    I personally ignored what big things you did, before your death and the following
    itinerary that we made at school, but I can say that it have change my mode to think
    and to act. I’m immigrant’s son and I can see, even if not directly, that racism has
    not stopped, but now it’s extend not only to “black” people but also to immigrants
    from poor land, woman and in Italy like in U.S.A. to South people. I’ll would be honored to
    be the finalist of your work, the future is changeable we will see.

    We will miss you Goodbye!

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Some parts are not clear to me. For example I cannot grasp what you mean by
      “I would be honored to be the finalist of your work”. However, you maneged to express your gratitude and your desire to follow suit. People like you Matteo can change our community for the better. You know from personal experience what it means to be pointed out and this makes you a more sensible and tactful young men than those who were brought up in a “protected” environment. Clarify to yourself what you would like to achieve in your life and start working hard for accomplishing that. Mandela’s success was knowing what he wanted and remaining focussed!

  29. Madalina scrive:

    January 24th, 2014
    Dear Mandela,
    I am writing this letter to submit you my thoughts. I come from Romania when I was 5. At that age I did not feel different from the other children, I never felt discriminated or isolated. I singled out myself on my own from the other kids, or so I thought, because I am not the type of person who socializes with anyone. I did not realize that the other children did not play with me. I used to play all by myself and I did not care about the others. At the age of 8 I still did not have any friends at school. It was then that I realized that something was wrong. I have not blamed anyone, because I was used to being alone, but the other children were all friendly with each other and although I knew all of them I did not feel belonging to the group. So I started to think why I was not accepted. My hypotheses were two: they did not accept me because I did not speak to them or they did not accept me because I am Romanian. At the time I pursued the second one. Even my parents pushed me to think that way, especially my father (even now he still does not accept this country as his home). I never tried to talk to the other children to hear what they thought about it and that was my mistake. Nowadays I think that if I had talked to others I would have avoided a lot of pain. My mistake was not to express myself from the beginning and I think that is also your people mistake. They should have object to the situation even before it was formed, I do not mean that the elimination of the “whites” was the solution, but reject their laws could have been a good one. I understand better than anyone else that it is not that easy to do. It also took me a while to take courage to rebel to my situation, but as your people I succeed. I still have a lot of things that trouble me (for example discrimination between men and women, and prejudices against foreigners), but you are an example of an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Very personal letter and touching too, because you reveal a moment of awareness that must have been quite painful.
      As to the point where you write South Africans should have rebelled against the Apartheid Laws, I do not think we can put things that plainly. Violence, abuse, derision, attitude of superiority, deprivation, knowledge, deceit were used to subdue the South-Africans. You realized it by yourself that perhaps kids did not play with you because you did not make them understand you wanted to be included too. You realized this in a protected environment, surrounded by children. Would you have come to this conclusion if you had been surrounded by adults telling you you were inferior because you came from a country different from Italy? Would you have come to the same conclusion if you had been abused physically or verbally whenever you wanted to express your discontent?

  30. Giulia Fren scrive:

    Dear Nelson Mandela,
    Your death has left a big void in South Africa, but also in the rest of the world because you have taught to mankind the right path towards freedom and the importance of fighting for the rights and dignity of man .
    You taught to accept all ethnic groups through the principle of equality ; you’ve sent this principle , but as long as every person that lives in this world will not understand it there will be a peaceful struggle to combat each symptom of inequality.
    I admire what you have done in life , in particular the fact that after being released from prison after 27 years , you have not brought with you rancor and hate.
    You have left vengeance against those who had greatly hurt you and you preferred the path of forgiveness . This way to act shows immense courage and an inner strength that must be considered a remarkable example to all in order to hold on and never give up even if the difficulties are disastrous .
    Through your actions I learn necessary lessons to life.
    I really admire your inner strength that has allowed you to do great things , as in the politics.
    Thank you for everything you have give to me, it is thanks to you if I can grow with solid values . Thank you also for making me think about these issues and for bringing me to the right path .
    I Will spread what I have learned in all the people who are close to me and I will do it as long as I possibly can.
    Thank you for everything you have done and for being a reference point for me and for the rest of humanity.
    I give to you my last goodbye big man !

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      A letter of great gratitude. I hope you will stick to the promises you made: that of applying Mandela’s principles in your daily life.
      Remember to use the Simple Past when you mention somebody who is not longer among us.

  31. Simona Mastrapasqua scrive:

    Dear Mandela,
    even if you are no longer fisically with us , for me it’s very important write this letter, because I think you were one of the few men to defeat death in a sense, namely your spirit is among us, is “invictus”. A man, who was subjected to violence and injustice only for his color of skin, can’t forget his saviour. First I want to thank you, since I learned to ponder more deeply on things. For example in my opinion white man didn’t use brutality only for having fear of diversity, but also because the characteristic of dominating others , the lust for power is innate in the majority of men and it’s vane to deny it. Instead you , one of the few , have been able to placate this desire.
    Then I want to thank you for having taught me the importance of knowledge. Now I can see many points of view and I opened eyes on many issues. My parents don’t know, so they trust of what that mass-media say and since I was familiar with your ideas I try to convince them that they must not have a mass thought, but they must understand that it always isn’t blame of “different”.
    I’m glad it existed a man like you, capable of not only thinking to himself and to his benefits, but ready to risk and lose everything in order to help the country. I hope to develop your courage.
    I respect you so much and I’m proud of what you did. Your struggles won’t be lost.
    THANK YOU MANDELA!
    P.S: Good rest, even if I think that you will continue to enforce your rights there too.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I love the line when you write “your spirit is ‘invictus'”.
      You are proud of him and I am sure you will make him proud of you too!

  32. Emanuele scrive:

    Dear Nelson Mandela,
    I wrote this letter to you because I want to congratulate with you and thank you for everything you have done. It is a pleasure and an honor to write to a person like you. Thank you for the preservation of our humanity under the most inhumane of conditions; you never give up, you have always been on the side of freedom both when you were incarcerated and when you became president. A lot of people when they reached the summit of power would be corrupt but you with your equal rights, you have continued your journey to liberate South Africa from white domination, making you not be influenced by anyone, even more from the people closest to you. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us, you will remain forever in our hearts as only a few other people have done. I hope that someone else can be like you, follow your ideals, be a new guide for fighting racism. Our world would need it! Even here in Italy there is also a lot of discrimination only between north and south, and many people can not tolerate the landings in Lampedusa. This situation is intolerable we are orphaned of a great person who left, however, a great sign. Thanks for everything Madiba will never forget you, you will always be remembered for everything you have done.
    Emanuele

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Nice the reference to the refugees and immigrants reaching the shores of Lampedusa.
      I really hope Mandela’s teachings will make you realize that the sooner you visualise who you want to become in life the sooner you will work hard to achieve that goal. This way you will accomplish what Mandela mentioned in the speech we analysed in class: you owe you to life to do something useful with your life.

  33. Veronica P. scrive:

    Dear Mandela ,
    I chose to write you because I think you’re a very special person . I can not understand how hard you had to be able to fight during all those years in prison. After twenty-seven years, you came up as winner, keeping fight for the freedom of black population. You have an indescribable courage , I dare not imagine how the world would be today without your intervention. You’re a key piece of evidence that obstacles and difficulties, if you want, you can break them down easily. To realize our dreams, we don’t need fame and wealth, but simply the wish to LIVE and FIGHT for our ideals. I believe that to have a better world, we mustn’t always stand there complaining and waiting for someone to change it for us. We must be the first, as you have done, who want to change and fight, already with the little things . I would love to donate blood, and with a small gesture, I think I could help those who need it. Also do something to make people happy is what I always try to do, and see a smile on their faces makes me happy. For example, this summer, in spite of my shyness, I dressed as a clown and I went to a center for the disabled. I was very impressed by that experience because I scored in the heart of all their smiles and just think about it makes me immense joy.
    Thanks Mandela , you’re a great example for me.
    with love
    Veronica

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Fighting for one’s own ideals is certainly a key to success, but first we need to clarify to ourselves who we want to be and what our poramount ideals are.
      I am happy to read about your personal experience: regardless of your shyness (which by the way is not to be seen as a limit at all!) you are a pretty strong woman. I would add, a woman of great sensitivity. I wish you all the best.

  34. Francesco Bortolussi scrive:

    Dear Nelson Mandela,
    first I am writing to thank you for all that you are able to transmit to me, the will to live and fight for our dreams. You were a very determined person, this has helped you a lot in your life, but even more you were a person with noble ideals, and this made you bigger than the other men.
    You have fought against white domination, you have fought against the domination of same blacks, you have fought for the equality of peoples, you have fought attacking the buildings of the whites and not their creators, you have fought for all humanity, you have always fought for a better world.
    I have a dream like you, although very different from your own. I would like to become a good professor of physics and maybe make a contribution to the history of science.
    However, I would like to do something to improve the current reality, based on conformity and on the only desire of gain. I don’t ask to be compared to you but i would have the strength to battle on a daily for what I believe.
    Madiba thanks again for all that you have been, but for me you are and you’ll be a master of life.
    Bye Madiba!!!

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Well done Francesco. For the first time I get to read about your wishes and resolutions. I did not know you wanted to become a teacher of physics or a professor of physics (at university). This is the difference between teacher and professor. So, what level would you like to teach? High-school or univeristy? You will certainly be able to make an important contribution if you really want to, but as Madiba showed us, you need to be determined, but most of all, you must work very hard to achieve your objectives.
      I think you would benefit a lot if you could improve your English too 🙂
      For example, in your letter you used the Present Perfect, but Nelson Mandela died, thus you must use the Simple Past.

  35. Mattia De Camillis Baiocchi scrive:

    Dear Nelson Mandela, 
    I’m from Italy therefore I can’t really understand what is racism and more what is Apartheid, but in my little life I can know what is to you, mr. Mandela, and to the other black people this struggle for freedom. I saw how you work for made it real, you inspire me with your determination and costancy. I understand that I can persue all my objectives only believing in myself and going on. Thank you Madiba, working and fighting for your country you inspired many people including me. I can’t understand what you went through and how you suffer, but I can see how brutal it was and this tempered my soul.
    After viewing your story, your sofferences, your struggles, and your final win you became a figure that change my life, now I see my world in another way, I find racism also in my country that should be domocratical and open minded.
    I think that your example can bring me to do more, to fight for my ideals, to improve my life.
    Finally you make me think about my social conditions, about what I can achieve only because my skin is white…
    You change me and I would thank you for this.
    With admiration,
    Mattia.

  36. cristianaziraldo scrive:

    He has certainly changed the lives of those who truly listened to his words and truly weighted the purport of his speeches. I think we are all lucky that a man like him existed, lucky because whenever we are bombarded with news of corrupted and greedy people, of politicians with no scruples, well, instead of despairing, we can close our eyes, visualize people like Nelson Mandela, echo their words in our head and infuse our souls with positive determination.

  37. Jessica scrive:

    To Nelson Mandela

    Dear Mandela,
    I was thinking about your life, all things I appreciate about your past, I was thinking about all things you tought me and all things I could tell you, when I realized at the moment, I prefer say nothing of this. The reason is I feel guilty, hypocrite if I think until last year I barely knew who you were. I don’t mean I don’t recognise your greatness, your importance to my actual ideals and to everybody’ life, but before telling you my “superficial” opinion, I want to learn more about you, I really want to understand the strenght that pushed you to accomplish such a great changement in human’s story. With your death and with the notions I collected, you made me understand one more time, I wasted too much time. I don’t want to be passive any more, I want and I must gain understanding of our people, our feelings, our mind, so as you did.
    I want to achieve the same awareness you had, the same love towards life and the same sense of justice, because this is the best way I and all human being have to attend about world’s order. My intention is not to compare myself to your figure, my aim is emproving myself following your teaching.
    I hope I’ll manage to reach at least one small part of this.
    Be with me, be with us.
    I owe you a lot,
    Jessica

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Dear Jessica,
      A highly personal letter in which you disclose your determination to become a better person. You are already a special woman: you acknowledge the fact you barely knew who Mandela was and you ask him to be on your side and lead you to better human horizons. I wish you a “long walk to freedom” and a long walk to your personal realization. Long live Mandela!

  38. Andrea Moras scrive:

    Dear Nelson Mandela
    For first i want to thank you for all the things that you have succeeded to get for the South African people and for the moral integrity of the people of the all world. You teached us the dignity, the respect for the others, the strenght of the spirit, the extreme resistance for our ideals of pacific cohabitation and freedom. You were a very noble person and, over at all, you were very strong for fighting for your ideas. Your strenght brought you to fight against white men, institutions, presidents. You fought for equality, for all humanity not only South African people, for a better world. You didn’t use the same weapon of the enemy, that uses the fear and the brutal force. No, you follow the example of Ghandi for continue the battle with racism. I will not be probably a great person like you, but i have a little hope similar to your ideas. There is still racism in all over the world, in all the little realities. You and other great people like Martin Luther King fought for ideals of freedom and respect but the prejudices of human genre are not completely eradicated. All of the people with a minimum of common sense must fight with the cancer of racism and prejudices of all genre. I would like to make a little change in my little reality. I don’t ask to be compared to you Madiba, you are so great and magnificient. I ask only for a little bit of your strenght and your simplicity. Thanks Madiba for all the things you made for us and for all the values you trasmict to us still now. You are a teacher of life, a master.
    Au revoir Nelson

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I think Mandela would tell you that there are no “great” or “little” human beings as you may think, but there are people who want to pursue values of equality and humanity because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be themselves, and there are others who pursue just their own interests, because they cannot see the rest of the picture, they do not see that they are part of a larger context.
      You can acquire the strength and humility you so much admire in Madiba. What prevents your from this?
      There are lots of mistakes in your letter, so next time try to proofread what you write: this way your language will equal the power of the content of your ideas.

  39. Chiara scrive:

    Dear Mandela,
    I am writing you a letter and I know you ‘d never read it even if you had been alive, but I try the same . The thing I appreciate most of your life is your incredible patience and kindness even though you have been treated in an inhumane way and you have spent nearly 30 years in prison unjustly . I don’t think I’m a racist person but nowadays it is easy to have prejudices especially against foreigners. But the thing that struck me most in your life is that you’ve never stop in front of the fear and you don’t ever give up. I’d like to know where you found all this courage to fight in front of the worst , sufference and helplessness , the courage not to give up and be able to realize your dream . I’d like to know it for myself because I need to find a strong person that will give me the example to adjust my life but also for alla the people because the world needs someone like you.
    With love,
    Chiara

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I am not Mandela, but I can try to answer this letter for him. I think Mandela found his strength and courage in the belief that we were all born equal, that there is no difference between a black human being and a white human being. You can find good and evil traits in any person who inhabits this world. His belief was then supported by a strong sense of justice, because he studied law, so he wanted to see the rights of people respected and safeguarded. We can be inspired by great writers, great film directors, great politician, yet if in us there is not the belief of that equality, if in us there is not the convinction that a human being should not be judged by the colour of his skin, by the money he has, by the social class he belongs to, by his gender, by his sexual orientation, by his religion, etc. , we won’t ever see where Madiba’s courage and strength came from.
      Good luck with your spiritual search and investigation!

  40. Leonardo Bidoia scrive:

    Letter to Nelson Mandela

    Dear Madiba,
    now that you’re gone the world has lost a great man, a great spirit. What you did, no one has ever been and ever will be able to do. You have changed the world, you changed the people who inhabit it, you deleted inequality.
    I personally you have changed in me many things, thanks to you I’ve seen what we whites have done to your people, I have come to truly realize the atrocities committed among men, and for that I thank you.
    I thank you on behalf of future generations, thanks to your work will live peacefully, aware of their past in order not to repeat the same mistakes. you were the light in the darkness, the sun in the rain, you were unique, and why no one ever will forget your name.
    Enjoy the peace as you’ve always been able to do.

    Thank you Madiba.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You are right, Madiba has changed all our lives and along with you I will always thank him from the bottom of my heart. It is amazing how much we can learn from great leading figures in this world, isn’t it?