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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 2106

Mr BROUGH (Fisher) (18:32): I rise to celebrate the life of this great man and recognise the challenge that he gives the world. It is beyond my comprehension how you can spend 27 years in jail and come out and act in the way that he has. He says he is not a saint, but I do not know of another person that could do that. The enormity of what he lived through, the persecution, and then to have the hope of the nation upon you, leaves you speechless. We see so many regimes change and we see so much hope, as we have seen in the Middle East of late, and so often that hope just dissolves because the people charged with taking their nations forward are just not up to the task. Here is a man that has gone above and beyond in every walk of life.

Whether sitting in this place or in our normal lives, we or any person can look to him for inspiration and for a role model—one that I know we will all fail. But we can at least attempt in our normal way of life to reach some of that forgiving nature that he not only espoused but lived by. It was not the words which so many other members today have repeated, though they are eloquent, they are brilliant, they are moving and they are going to go down in history through the aeons. It is the fact that he followed those through actions—actions that are quite beyond what we recognise as being not just acceptable but what mankind has been known to do.

Some have reflected upon the fact that South Africa today is not a brilliant nation, but think of what it was only a short time ago. And it has come to this point in its history largely through a movement and through a belief, but it is through the leadership of an individual. As the member for Berowra has said, he has been to the island and he has been in the prison cell. He has been able to experience that and to have that soak in; to appreciate that Mandela, for 365 days a year for 27 years through the best years of his life, not thinking there was any hope that that was ever going to end, would come out at the other end of that and then walk as tall as he has done—to walk into a community of whites and sit down and break bread with the man who wanted to see him sentenced to death—and at no stage show retribution. If all of us in this place can draw something from this man's life, then his impacts will go way beyond South Africa, and way beyond this generation. They will live on in generations to come. That is what we owe him for what he has achieved, and for the sacrifices that he and his family and his community have endured for so long. If we do that, then that is the simply the greatest honour that we can pay him. We thank him for his contribution. We acknowledge his life. We celebrate his life. And we pass on our condolences to everybody who is feeling the pain of his passing.