In the build up to the elections, we are more than likely going to hear a lot of speeches. They will colour the 8pm news at night and the sunrise news bulletins in the mornings. No doubt, many of these will be lost to the noise of the many voices clamouring to have their say about things like ‘freedom’ and ‘progression’.
My hope is that there will be one or two public addresses which will carve a place in the nation’s history, as the really powerful speeches of our past have come from leaders who haven’t just known what they stood for but who weren’t afraid to fight for it.
Consider Nelson Mandela who refused to give up his ideals on freedom even when thrown into prison.
At the Rivonia Treason trial in April 1964 he said in his address: “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.
“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
At the time these words were spoken, Mandela faced the possibility of a death sentence.
At his presidential inauguration in May 1994, he said: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign.”
Thirty years lay between his Rivonia trial speech and his inauguration speech, but instead of his words fading in these years, the years only amplified his message – this is because the life lived behind the scenes, behind the political soapbox, was true to the words.
Everybody’s life has a message. There is not one person in the community who is not speaking something through their life – whether it is perseverance, or justice, or injustice, or division and slander, or unity, or rebellion, or hope, or faith. What is it you want your message to be to the world? What do you stand for? What would your one speech be about?
On page 7, Pawl, our tame tiger, gives kids some advice on ‘learning to roar’. I believe it is important to teach our children to stand in faith and to know what their life is about. When adversity, or trials, or peer pressure or storms come, if you know what you are about, you will stand and if you stand in faith, even that thing that is against you will become the thing that amplifies your life’s message.
“Truth does not sit in a cave and hide like a lie. It wanders around proudly and roars like a lion.” (Sue Kassem).