One hundred years ago, Nelson Mandela was born. This world statesman and humanitarian lived by three simple rules every day; 1) Free Yourself 2) Free Others and 3) Be of service. Here is Kate Otto founder of Everyday Ambassador had to say:
'What exactly does that mean, to “Free yourself”? I’ll leave it to Madiba to explain in his own reflective words, “As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind that I would still be in prison.” And how about, “Free others”? As Madiba so eloquently put it, “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” And lastly, how can we think about serving every day? What if I have a full time job, and/or family, and/or social and professional commitments that really prevent me from committing to any type of daily activity for the rest of my life? Once again Madiba breaks it down for us, explaining that serving every day doesn’t need to be a physical activity; it can be as simple as practicing kindness and love to one another, a task we can weave into many parts of our daily lives, with ease. In his words, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Now that Madiba’s physical presence has passed on from this world, his bountiful and powerful spirit remains with us in this amazing annual celebration of #MandelaDay. Although the one day is an important time to remember Madiba, recognize his influence, and remember how important his ideals were, it’s up to you and me, everyday, to live a little more like Madiba. Give it a try today: Free yourself from hatred, Free others by respecting their lives as equal to yours, and Serve by Loving. Because Freedom and Justice won’t ever be attained without collective effort.'
This resonates with the ideals of Builders and Brainchilds, so much so that we decided to put together a Nelson Mandela Centennial Event to celebrate his legacy. The aim was not to make it a South African event, but to make it a global event that resonated with anyone of any ethnicity and nationality. Everyone who attended and intended to attend was a fan of Mandela, and that is all that mattered to the event organizers. In a small South Korean town people from all walks of life gathered to honor the global statesman, and father of the South African nation. While the theme was to celebrate his legacy, the focus message was to be of service; be of service in whichever area your strength lies, be of service today, be of service tomorrow, and be of service every day.
Guests walked into the event and sat at coloring stations. They’d choose a black and white portrait of Mandela to color in, which of course they’d get to keep and take home afterwards. There was live entertainment performing renditions of artists with a clear message of humanitarianism, love, and unity. During intermissions guests would view and purchase African styled accessories and jewelry from Afrobeadious Affair; a South African owned business operating in South Korea. And what would any good event be without raffle prize draws! A Hawaiian woman, Silayon Casino won the raffle. Another takeaway was the ‘100 Pieces of Advice from Centennials’ segment; guest would randomly choose a piece of advice from a centennial, a random selector would draw a number, and the guest would have to read the piece of advice to all the attendees. There were some gems, some humorous, and there were some that needed to be taken with a pinch of salt.
One of the major highlights of the evening was our best dressed competition: guest from all over the world attended in their traditional attire, this went to a blind vote by the audience. The contestants had their backs towards the voting audience. An elegantly dressed woman from Kyrgyzstan, Gulmira Kulbaeva won the prize. While the evening was overall a great mingling session, the guests clearly marked the mural activity as an event favorite. As the night drew to a close we gathered to color in a mini-mural of Nelson Mandela, leaving messages on the impact he has had on our lives. Our Russian photographer did a fantastic job at capturing the evening. The world coming together to celebrate him, not just in South Korea, but globally. In his death he is still a uniting force.
It has been five years since Nelson Mandela passed on but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of every global citizen.