This year marks 21 years since our beloved former president Nelson Mandela walked free from the Victor Verster Prison. Originally incarcerated on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison
Madiba is celebrated worldwide for his vision for peace and unity among South Africans and will forever be known as a defender of equality and a well-respected leader. In celebration of his 21 years of freedom, First National Bank (FNB) created the concept of a Tribute to 21 Years of Freedom for its Premier Banking clients. It was to be a momentous event and banquet dinner to celebrate this ‘Living Icon’ as well as 21 other ‘Premier’ South African icons who all paid tribute to Mandela. Many celebrities attended the event as well as an esteemed group of FNB’s Premier clients. The event was created as part of the company’s Premier First Experiences that it offers Premier Banking clients.
These events are groundbreakers in themselves, thrilling attendees with unique experiences. This tribute event was no exception. “The initiative has been designed to thank existing clients for giving their business to Premier Banking from FNB. Through a series of events and initiatives, we take our clients into an environment that not only allows them to network with like-minded individuals, but also exposes them to a variety of enriching experiences that differ from anything in the market,” notes Lezanne Human, Chief Executive Officer of Premier Banking from FNB.
Fittingly taking place at The Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg where Nelson Mandela, as a free man, exercised his democratic right to vote – the exquisite and emotional gala dinner gave most in attendance goose bumps and brought a few to tears. Local celebrities, many of whom are known as pioneers in their various fields, came together for a lavish affair to show their love and support of this strong Nobel Laureate and all he has fought for. Prior to the event, FNB also created widespread awareness through various media platforms to allow proud South Africans the chance to write their own tribute to Mandela via a dedicated SMS line. Thousands of tributes to our special leader were sent in and these are being recorded in an artful book which will be presented to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in due course.
SOME OF THE LOVING TRIBUTES THAT WERE SENT IN FOR MADIBA*:
“Tata, thank you for affording us the opportunity to experience freedom, a country we could call home and giving us the license to dream big. We wish you well, let your heart be glad for what you have given us.”
“Madiba, you are a true example of a nation’s leader. You served our country with kindness, compassion and a true vision of equality. If we could all see through your eyes, the world would be a better place.”
“Dear Madiba, you are a true example of strength through humility. People easily admire you, but few follow your example… May God grant us the strength to step up and lead the way you did.”
“Dear Nelson, our freedom may have come at a cost to humanity but your contribution to the freedom we enjoy will forever remain priceless. May humanity continue to learn from your unselfish deeds. Thank you.”
“Because of your sacrifice today I can open doors that my parents couldn’t; I can walk tall in the knowledge that I am special and equal to all my fellow South Africans… thank you Tata!”
“A man with so much compassion and tolerance. A true living icon and a legend in my lifetime… and all lifetimes to follow.”
“You altered our history through love, compassion and a willingness to forgive – not only did you become our leader but also a father to our nation. Stand tall, stand proud, for you redefined our history and paved a path for greatness… thank you.”
*all dedications have been left anonymous out of respect for each contributor’s privacy.
Image courtesy of: Faccio Foto’s