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Doreen Lawrence: I will always appreciate Mandela's support

HELPING HAND: Nelson Mandela meets Neville and Doreen Lawrence on May 6, 1993, and backs their campaign to get justice for their son

I REFLECT on the legacy that Mr Nelson Mandela has left for all of us who are fortunate to be alive to witness, and on my own personal association with him during the campaign for justice for my son Stephen. Nelson Mandela was ready to die for his view that the laws in South Africa were unjust to the majority of its people. That readiness led him to spend 27 years of his life in prison. Mr Mandela wanted freedom of movement for black people around the country, for equality, better living standards, housing and employment. The brutality on black people from the South African Government under the apartheid regime and police cost many lives. Mr Mandela wanted and campaigned for majority rule. His campaigning was selfless and the sacrifice was for the whole country not just for black people. Nelson Mandela, a man of justice and peace, he gave so much without any thought for himself.

I will always appreciate the support he gave my family and me back in 1993 after Stephen’s murder. His words made a big difference and led to the first arrest of some of the perpetrators of Stephen’s murder. Mr Mandela understood what it meant to lose someone because of racism. I will always remember a calm natured man who cared so much for others and saw the good in everyone.  That meeting on the Thursday, May 6, in 1993, was very important and made a big difference in how we ran our campaign for justice.

With the leadership Mr Mandela showed, he managed to inspire the next generation who want to carry on working in his footsteps.  South Africa is a better place because of Nelson Mandela’s tireless efforts and sacrifice in bringing about changes. However, it is not just South Africans who have benefited from this giant of a man as demonstrated by the legacy he has left behind.  We can see this extent with leaders of countries across the globe lining up to pay tribute to this inspirational man.

Rest in peace.

With love, Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon.

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