Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 10th 2013 Contents A65
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
"Sport has the power to change
the world." The words of Nelson
If we all used this iconic inter-
national figure s life journey as an
example of how to live and think,
T&T sport will take a quantum
leap forward. His emphasis on for-
giveness, engagement, reconcili-
ation, the importance of unity and
harmony the power of a vision,
determination an indomitable will,
patience and perseverance provide
a template that has proven itself
in the most trying circumstances.
Many rushing to share the pro-
file and platform occasioned by
his passing appear to be at odds
with the ethos of the man to
whom they are paying tribute.
There are many compelling les-
sons that we can all learn and
aspire to, if we were to use Man-
dela s example of authentic lead-
That he was a great leader there
can be no doubt.
Mandela was one leader who
didn t pay lip service to the power
of sport nor did he engage in rhet-
oric or bandwagonism where sport
Sport was the cornerstone of
his strategy for the unification of
black and white South Africa.
His legacy as US President
Barack Obama said will endure for
the ages. Mandela defied the odds,
broke down barriers and champi-
oned human rights. He dreamed
and pursued the impossible dream.
A former heavyweight boxer, Man-
dela s love for sport and his under-
standing of the power of sport was
authentic and sincere.
Mandela s courage didn t allow
him to compromise his principles.
In 1985 when President Botha
offered Mandela his freedom if he
would renounce violence, Man-
dela s response was apartheid
should be dismantled firstly.
Branded a terrorist. He is report-
ed as telling the US don t tell him
who should be his friends. The
exchange coming after Mandela
went to Cuba to meet Fidel Castro,
Gaza to meet Yasser Arafat and
Tripoli to meet Moammar Gadaffi.
All three had supported the fight
Mandela inspired anti-apartheid
protests here in T&T. Many have
either forgotten or don t know that
in T&T early in March 1986 locals
protesting against English crick-
eters who had played against South
Africa were arrested and subjected
to robust police action.
The images from South Africa s
Rugby World Cup victory in 1995
will never be forgotten as Mandela
unified white and black South
Africa by appearing in a dark green
Springbok jersey with the number
6, the same as the then Springbok
captain Francois Pienaar.
It s an image that resonated
beyond rugby. The Springbok
badge was a symbol of the divided
apartheid South Africa.
Visionary and courageous, Man-
dela understood that he had to
make the Springbok jersey part of
the new South Africa.
He faced strong internal dissat-
isfaction within his own party over
his policy of nation-building
through sport. His role in the
return of a multi-racial South
African team to the Olympic
Games in Barcelona 1992 cannot
be underplayed. It would not have
happened if he didn t sanction it.
Mandela had identified sport as
a way of achieving a multi-racial
country. He was the first global
leader to use sport as a tool to
unite people and to redefine a
country s international image.
Mandela s legacy to sport and
the role that sport can play has
left political and sport leaders with
a powerful example and template.
His strength of character and
vision to stand up for sport in the
face of much criticism from those
close to him who didn t see what
he saw is or should be an inspi-
ration to all of us. Sport can be a
powerful and positive catalyst.
In closing I extend sincerest
condolences to the family and
friends of Isidore Smart, Gordon
Delph, Emmanuel McDonald Bai-
ley and Michael Als, all men who
are worthy examples and role
models for the youth of T&T. They
made a positive difference to
mother T&T during their life jour-
ney- Rest in Peace faithful patri-
Brian Lewis is the President of
the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic
Committee(TTOC). The views
expressed are not necessarily those
of the TTOC. Visit
http://www.ttoc.org/ for information
on the TTOC , IOC and the Olympic
Sport---cornerstone of Mandela's success
People lay flowers near a statue depicting former president Nelson
Mandela, by artist Marco Cianfanelli, near Howick, South Africa, yesterday.
This is the place where Mandela was arrested in 1962 and subsequently
jailed for 27 years. Mandela died on December 5 at aged 95. AP PHOTO
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