Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela
Posted by Eileen Shihoff on 18 Jul 12
It’s hard to believe that Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 94th birthday today. His extraordinary life and commitment to the principles of democracy and reconciliation continues to be a beacon for people all over the world. The charity has felt honored to have been apart of Mandela’s vision over the past 10 years; giving people in the townships of South Africa the opportunity to own their own house.
I came across this excerpt from an interview with Niall Mellon about 2 years ago which I thought was quite appropriate to today’s celebration:
Q. When did the project come to the attention of South Africa Leader, Neslon Mandela?
A. I can’t remember exactly but I’d say it was 18 months to 2 years after we had got started. I was married to Nicola and had a little baby boy - Harry and we were invited up to meet Mr. Mandela in his home. I think we had been at a lunch previously with him but this was more personal. We were both nervous even about what to wear and decided to wear what we’d both be happiest in - jeans and T shirt. It was a very special moment to spend that time with him, he loves children and he had great fun playing with our little baby Harry. I kept telling him our little fella had reflux and we had just given him a bottle of milk, but he just kept lifting him up and down..... I have had the privilege of meeting him several times and the last time I met him personally he spoke with great admiration and affection for the Irish volunteers and Ireland and what is possible when enough people come together - he called it the power of the collective.