Happy birthday, Tata!

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.

Yet it is the one essential vital quality of those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.

These words, of the assassinated US attorney-general Robert Kennedy, capture the essence of the character of a man so revered and admired by millions throughout the world - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

As South Africa's struggle icon celebrates his 89th birthday today, it is interestingly in the echo of his own words that his own life and legacy can be summed up: "Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished."

True, not even lifelong imprisonment could extinguish that personal quest for the freedom of his people and ironically the freedom of his oppressors so they could live without a sense of guilt or fear of retribution.

But, arguably, none of his famous quotations capture the resilience or indomitability of the human spirit amid adversity as these famous words: "I have never had a single moment of depression, because I know that my cause will triumph."

For all the great sacrifice and sense of magnanimity, we're eternally thankfully to Madiba. Happy birthday, Tata!

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