Remembering Nelson Mandela in Brussels

tLast week, the South African community in Brussels hosted by the South African Embassy gave thanks for the life of Nelson Mandela.

The magnificent Cathedral of Saint Michiel and Saint Goedele in Brussels, which has been the venue for christenings, marriages and funeral ceremonies of Belgian royalty, was a fitting venue for the South African community, friends, supporters and admirers of Nelson Mandela to meet together to reflect on and celebrate the life of this great man.

In a sober ceremony led by Bishop Jean Kockerols and Canon Robert Innes, special guests were called upon to speak about Nelson Mandela. Everyone emphasized the dignity, integrity and ability to forgive shown by Nelson Mandela which turned him into a world-class hero, never to be forgotten.

Six teachers from St. John’s attended the memorial service. Most of us  have South African roots and felt that we had to be there. I wrote a message on behalf of St. John’s students and teachers in the condolences book.

I would like to pass on two of Nelson Mandela’s many quotations to inspire our students at St. John’s:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela was laid to rest near the village of his childhood home in the picturesque hills and valleys of the Eastern Cape Province. May he rest in peace. He has earned it.

By Anja Coenen Elementary School EAL Teacher