For children in the impoverished world, Nelson Mandela – a true fighter – is a character in a storybook.
In our own library at the Happy House Children’s Home in Watamu, Kenya, we have two easy-to-read books telling his story.
They are borrowed frequently, which indicates the older ones among our family of 72 children do have a simple understanding of what he has done to change the world.
These are young people who will shape the future of their country, who are being raised to stand up for truth, justice and right.
Thanks to the vision of former Blackpool woman, Sue Hayward, who founded Children of Watamu charity and created the Happy House, our children, rescued from the scrapheap of life, are being encouraged to speak out without fear, knowing at the Happy House, their voice will always be heard.
Their opinions are valued.
Mandela’s extraordinary life, his defiance in the face of injustice, his extraordinary ability to forgive, is an inspiration to our family.
Our Mama Sue was insistent we have television at the Happy House, we were lucky enough to have one donated by a supporter in the UK.
It may seem a luxury because other meagre homes do not have TV, or radio.
Sue wanted a television so our children could watch the news and understand the world beyond the village of Watamu.
It is rarely switched on for anything else.
They sit down with our social worker, Billy, every evening to watch the national and regional news.
Through TV, they will understand how one man, with determination, courage and love, can change the world.
In the closing pages of his memoir, Mandela writes: “I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.
“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
These words will need no explanation for our children.