Farewell to a wonderful man Greek Ambassador Spyridon Lampridis' farewell to Nelson Mandela
History will certainly find the right place to honour properly the great historical figure of Nelson Mandela.
Humanity was lucky enough to enjoy his presence in her midst during almost the entire past century and therefore should eternally cherish him as a unique example of human courage, endurance, moral values, deep love for mankind, unwavering devotion to peace and global progress.
I will personally never forget the sacred moment when I, as Head of the Olympic Games Greek Delegation, handed to President Mandela the lit torch of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games during the unique global Olympic torch relay of that unforgettable summer of 2004. He smiled and calmly replied by saying to all of us “here, this light of peace, human joy and athletic competition has finally prevailed over the darkness of racism, hatred and violence”.
This was happening inside the same cell of the infamous prison on Robin Island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner for all those long years. Outside the open by then, historic cell, dozen of South Africans, black and white, were joyfully chanting for “Mandiba”.
I will never forget those moments for as long as I live, nor will I forget the path shown to us all by President Mandela.
Farewell, our “Mandiba”.