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Grant Abbott
 
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One man, one speech

02 February 2010, 15:20  - Grant Abbott
Twenty years ago I was just eleven. The enormity of what was happening in South Africa and the monumental change in governmental direction was totally lost on me at the time.

Hundreds of thousands of people locally and internationally gasped and then celebrated with abandonment as then President FW de Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and the unconditional release of a man who would undoubtedly become one of the greatest leaders of our time - Mr Nelson Mandela.

One man, in one speech, put South Africa on a path that would ultimately set us up as an example of what forgiveness and reconciliation could accomplish. Blacks stood alongside Boers, not as slaves, but as equals - brothers. One man. One Speech.
   
FW de Klerk did more good for this country in his one term as president than any of his predecessors combined. He put the wellbeing and the future of his country above his own - a characteristic very few people embrace these days.

Twenty years on and I believe we need to take Mr de Klerk's example and pay close attention to our own. This country does not need politicians to run it whose only agenda is greed and self-enrichment. We need leaders of good moral standing whose personal agendas will be subjugated to that of the greater good. We need leaders who will once again take the high road and remember that we stand alongside one another as equals - brothers.

This article is not meant to be an attack on the current government, but more so an appeal to the good men and women who have been quiet for too long. Stand up and lead. Politicians, lead with integrity and a servant heart.

How amazing would it be if our leaders sold the BMWs and clothed a homeless family?
 
Today I sit here in my office with 31 years experience of being white. Some of my closest friends are non-white. Every day I mix with people of different colours, races and tongues. This is a concept that would almost never have been possible pre-1990.

I love this country and all because of one man and one speech. Leaders please remember that moment and lead with integrity and humility.

Thank you Mr de Klerk.

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