Sparking hope with 100 years of Nelson Mandela

Richard, Holly and Nelson Mandela and family standing outside together
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 19 July 2018

This week the world celebrated what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.

In his lifetime Madiba challenged injustice with grace, demanded better from us all without fear, and responded to criticism and hatred with unfaltering love and compassion. His actions have changed the world.

To honour Mandela’s life, hundreds of people journeyed to South Africa to continue his long walk to freedom. #WalkTogether is a campaign dedicated to building a bright web of hope, made up of Sparks of Hope. It’s a beautiful campaign bringing together the different communities who are building a movement for the Freedoms Mandela dedicated his life to; peace, health, justice and equality.

Richard and Sam Branson posing with a statue of Nelson Mandela
Image from Greg Rose

The walk saw members of The Elders, activists, freedom fighters, justice defenders, advocates for social justice and young leaders take part, and both my Dad and Sam were among those walking.

Dad has spent lots of time with Madiba over the years and built a great friendship – they even have the same birthday! There were times I was fortunate enough to join Dad and share a meal with Madiba and his family too – I hung off of his every word. They are memories I will never forget.

I can’t help but see similarities in their love for the world and the people in it and it makes me beam with pride when I think about how Mandela lived his life, and how my Dad chooses to live his with the same thirst for change.

Richard Branson standing next to Nelson Mandela and others
David Turnley

I am completely inspired by the talks that took place during the Mandela 100 celebrations and encourage you to watch them – thank you to every Spark of Hope for working so hard to continue Mandela’s legacy.