To be honest guys and girls, I prefer the "great" legacy for which those celebrating his life have chosen.
And my choice is measured by the challenge his nation faced. Man on man, division against division. He choose unity and a path against stigma [ HIV ], violence [ political and racists divisions] . He was not interested by personal wealth at the expense of others and used his skill to bring extremist views away from fear and loathing, towards love and strength. He dedicated himself to the cause of rebuilding his nation, a cause he expressed in Court, that if necessary, he was prepared to die for.
I recall in a small hotel in Livingstone, Zambia in Africa , watching a live TV stream to Mandela's house where he was celebrating his 80th birthday surrounded by kids. I was with my family. A journalist asked him where did you get that colourful knitted jumper/sweater ; to which he answered , although I am without money, I have been dressed by plenty of friends. That's how a person gets really rich and lives in peace with themselves and those around.
For those that don't know, African tribes were against African tribes, whites were on whites , tribes on whites and vice versa - this was a nation on a powder keg, about to explode. And the smart folks knew they had to have a leader that would avert this.
I'm so glad that Google pinned a link under the search box today hyperlinked : Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 1918 – 2013
Of the thousands that met him personally, from those in a mud hut [bbc.co.uk
...] to Bill and Melinda Gates [facebook.com
...] few can disagree on him being a standout that provided a legacy for the future. Good against extremist tyranny and wrongdoing which will continue to challenge us in this World to which we all belong - and directly, or indirectly, are all accountable for.
Melinda and I admired Nelson Mandela, as the world did, for his courageous stand against apartheid. But we came to know him personally for a different reason: the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He was especially powerful in speaking out against stigma. In many countries, especially in the early years of the HIV epidemic, there was a lot of misinformation about how the virus was passed. Some people were afraid to touch a person with HIV.
President Mandela knew how damaging that was. He knew it made fighting the epidemic harder, and it wrecked the lives of people suffering from the disease. He also knew the stigma was just based on fear and ignorance. He thought he could make a difference by teaching people the facts.
On Webmasterworld we have folks from all sorts of backgrounds and faiths, beliefs and non beliefs, minority interests and views. We have small business persons and big business persons. They come from poor nations and rich nations. Some are well , some are not. Some are conventional and some are not. Who cares. It's the substance of the intent that counts in bringing us together, not just for self benefit, but by making this a happier place to interact and build knowledge.
So in the context of that, and in the context of Madiba's far higher calling, I stand firm in my applause of a man who represented, in such a dignified way, the reconciliation of a divided nation, and a divided World.
...... And I never met the man, but know plenty who did. Wish I had, but so do millions of others. Touched.