Heather Lawrie, Takanini

“I am originally from South Africa. A few years ago I was very privileged to get to meet Nelson Mandela. Not only did I get to meet him, but I was humbled when he made me a cup of tea. I never expected such a great man to be so humble and hospitable to someone he had just met. He did not know anything about my life (losing loved ones, abuse, rape, divorce and drug addiction) but he said something to me which has stayed with me and which I would like to share with you. His words inspired me and will hopefully inspire you also, particularly if you too have been through similar things to me.

He said, “You have a remarkable smile young lady, but your eyes are sad – don’t ever let what happened to you in life make you a victim of sadness, rise up a victor…you see when you give that kind of power to the enemy they will always reign – but if you stand up in your spirit you will always soar” then he tapped on my back as if saying I have the confidence that you can.”

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