Today the world received the sad news of the passing of Nelson Mandela after a long battle with illness.

Mandela will forever be remembered for championing reconciliation and freedom in a divided South Africa. After 27 years in prison for his views, he became the first democratically elected black president in South Africa. Despite the odds, he set in train many acts of forgiveness and paved the way for the undoing of apartheid in his country after decades of white minority rule.

Mandela leaves behind a lasting legacy of peace and reconciliation in South Africa and across the world. In Australia there is so much we can learn from Mandela’s incredible legacy ­— his determination to never give up, his firm belief in the equality of all people and his ability to forgive. In 2000, at World Reconciliation Day celebrations, Mandela told Australia that he believed we were striving toward reconciliation. So let’s continue the momentum and work hard for better relationships between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

See Mandela’s message to Australia at World Reconciliation Day here: