Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)
Paul Topping

Paul Topping

What did Sri Lanka learn from Nelson Mandela?

It’s Nelson Mandela’s birthday today. He was born in 18th July 1918 into a tribal royal family. He spent 27 years in prison, including periods of hard labour, fighting for what he believed in, social justice anti-apartheid/ racism. He became the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He took South Africa from brink of a blood bath to national reconciliation.

It’s Nelson Mandela’s birthday today. He was born in 18th July 1918 into a tribal royal family. He spent 27 years in prison, including periods of hard labour, fighting for what he believed in, social justice anti-apartheid/ racism. He became the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He took South Africa from brink of a blood bath to national reconciliation.

For those who have not seen the movie “Invictus”, its time to find it and understand what great leadership is all about. He took the nation through truth and reconciliation process which has been adopted since by many countries with ethnic issues, civil wars etc.

I spent some time in South Africa as a young boy and my father, a missionary and religious minister was amongst those who support the change despite the personal risk during apartheid. Mandela is my hero and I recall playing the South African National Anthem (one anthem in five languages) in Dec 2013 at an event I was compeering at Victoria Golf Club.

I spent some time in South Africa as a young boy and my father, a missionary and religious minister was amongst those who support the change despite the personal risk during apartheid.

Mandela is my hero and I recall playing the South African National Anthem (one anthem in five languages) in Dec 2013 at an event I was compeering at Victoria Golf Club.

So what did Sri Lanka learn from this great man? Well, many government officials went over to South Africa to study the truth and reconciliation process and to see how it could be applied in Sri Lanka post the war. Sri Lanka unlike the approach of South Africa has kept the international community at bay, have not followed the guidelines on international human rights, or attempted to achieve international standards. There are outstanding criminal investigations, pardons to officers who have been found guilty by Sri Lanka’s own legal process etc. This is no surprise as the independent commission in Sri Lanka were all selected by the Sri Lankan Government, some of which were accused of war crimes.

We need a Mandela inspirational leadership for the Sri Lankan people.

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