Nelson Mandela R.I.P

A year ago in a 60 second interview for The Voice newspaper, I was asked to name my most inspiring solicitor or lawyer of all time. Without hesitation I said that it had to be Nelson Mandela. In 1985 I had just passed my Solicitors Finals and I particularly remember the letter he gave to his daughter Zindzi, around that time rejecting the offer to release him on condition of going into exile. He said “I am not prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free”. They are powerful words that I never forgot. It made me decide to be a criminal defence lawyer which I was for a number of years. Nelson Mandela went on to spend another 5 years in captivity rather than sell out.  His sad passing is an opportunity for us to give thanks for his life, reflect on where we have come from and consider how much we still have to  achieve. At a time when hard won civil liberties are being eroded and the inequality gap widens we remember the part played by lawyers all over the world in righting wrongs and working for better civil society, human rights and justice.

Nelson Mandela R.I.P.

Cordella Bart-Stewart

Executive Director BSN