Dear Mr. Mandela,
I would just like to thank you for everything you have done in this country, for this country, for our government and our rugby team. You impacted everyone individually and everyone as a country. You turned my team into a symbol for the country's future, for a rainbow nation, and so far you are succeeding in your goal. I wish you the best of luck but realize while you do that you influence the lives of millions each day.
For example the time we had tea before I got in the building I was in the car with my fiance and she asked me “What does he want?” At that point I had no idea what I was in for, when we talked you inspired me to be a role model for my team and country. At first you asked me how my injury was and when I confessed that it was just an excuse for my poor playing. For the first time I said that I felt like I had let someone down. I felt like I needed to be like you and put my cards on the table and be the best man I could be, for the betterment of the country. We talked about the country and where it was, and you brought some new perspective to my life in that chat and it changed me as a person. You treated everyone equal all of the time, you asked how somebody was and complimented them no matter their age, race, gender, religion or rank and you always asked people to do something instead of ordering them to. That is truly a great action on your part because those little interactions build a web of trust and bondage between people and it makes everyone whole and balanced. And if there is one thing I took away from that meeting it would be balance, balance builds trust and order in a community and as long as a nation stays a community they will have peace.
I visited your prison and that was one of the most moving days of my life, I felt like I had lived a thousand years in a day. All of your experiences seemed to be relieved in that short time, it must have been hard but that probably molded you into the man you are now. Not because you regret your decision but because of all the time you had to think about the answers. The answers to our country's problems and to our people’s problems. Most of which happened to be grudges, grudges against the other race and judges against the other class. Which is why when you got back you stressed forgiveness. Forgiveness of all the jail time, forgiveness of all the hard labor and discrimination and prejudice. That is why we need to come to be the rainbow nation of tomorrow, where we see everyone equal and no man is left behind. That jail was an artifact of the past but it is necessary to build a school of the future where we all are the students and we are taught by forgiveness.
When I handed out the anthems for the game everyone crumpled it up rioting and complaining that it was not their song, they whined that they couldn’t read it. As I left I noted that it means God bless South Africa and that they couldn’t deny that we needed it. Soon that pile of crumpled paper dissipated and I never knew where they went, whether the boys picked it up or the janitor came around and cleaned it up. Whether or not they used that specific paper, by the time it was the world cup they had it memorized and nobody sang it louder than my team. That unified us with the country though, it wasn’t the tune or the words it was the message that sang in our hearts, that we are one country and one team. No matter what the world would throw at us it was only a matter of sticking together that was a challenge. That song meant Springboks, it meant South Africa, and it meant that God would bless us with unity. And when they sat around goofing around and talking and I walked in they looked at me like ants were crawling out my nose but when we beat the Springboks they understood how important that anthem was.
Mr. Mandela everything that just happened was not because of you but because of your ambitions and because of your dreams of a better tomorrow. You forgave everyone and unified them as one country, one team.
Your truly inspired friend,