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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 2107

Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (18:36): Much will be said and forever pondered on the life of Nelson Mandela. Over the last few days, many eloquent words have been spoken—and will be spoken—about this remarkable man who has forever changed our world. Yesterday, I was reading the Sunday papers and reflecting on his life as I looked through the photo galleries. I was confronted by an image of Nelson Mandela finally walking free. You are always struck when you see images like this by the vulnerability and the humanity of the man—incarcerated for 27 years yet so inspired that he never lost his passion to see his vision of a free South Africa.

In historic times when these things happen, many of us think back and ask, where were you when this happened? For me, I was at school in year 7. I was only 12 years of age. My teacher was one of the most amazing men that I would ever have the privilege to meet, a gentleman by the name of Nigel Kleinveldt. Mr Kleinveldt was what would have been described under the apartheid regime as a 'coloured' man, and hence had left South Africa. This was a moment in history that he was never going to miss—having a class whilst watching Mandela finally walk free. Mr Kleinveldt booked the TV for our class, and we sat watching history unfold before us. As a 12-year-old, I did not fully understand at the time the significance of what I was viewing, but I could see and I did understand the emotion on the face of my remarkable teacher, Mr Kleinveldt, and through him I saw what it meant to so many people—the inspiration of Nelson Mandela. This is possibly one of my most striking memories from my schooldays. I doubt I will ever be able to thank Nigel Kleinveldt enough for being able to share this emotion with us.

I echo the sentiments of so many of the previous speakers today. Nelson Mandela was a remarkable man. So much more than just a political leader, he was also a moral leader, a philanthropist, an anti-apartheid revolutionary and a freedom fighter. He is one of those towering figures of the 20th century who will hold an enduring place alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as an advocate for human dignity. With the death of Mandela, the world may have lost one of our living treasures. But the legacy of his life will live on for those he has touched and inspired, not only those who are alive today but also future generations. Mandela has truly enriched the lives and the future of our world. I would like to conclude today with a quote from Nelson Mandela himself:

When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.

Based on this philosophy, one can be assured that Nelson Mandela will rest in peace. Vale Nelson Mandela.