Friday, June 11
I am not a fan of celebrity culture. When people ask me who I most admire I think of real people who, against the odds, battle through life. The kind of people that I was fortunate enough to meet on the road in Africa.
Yes, it is 'cool' when you meet somebody like George Best as I was lucky enough to some years ago, but truthfully those who should really serve as an inspiration to us are the individuals all around us: those that have overcome horrific ordeals, those that dedicate their lives to helping others.
There is though, one famous person in this world who does deserve special mention. His name is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
'Madiba', as he is affectionately known, is a living legend who should serve as an inspiration to all of us. When he was released from jail after 27 years inside a cell, Mandela chose a path of peace and reconciliation for his nation. Others would have chosen revenge and retribution.
The World Cup is in South Africa because of Mandela. South Africa stands united today as a nation state because of Mandela.
Nelson Mandela has made it clear that, despite advice to the contrary because of his ill health, he will be there at Soccer City today for the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup.
Speaking personally, I believe that this man is probably the greatest man on earth.
I do not have a ticket for the opening ceremony but, if I could, I would pay a lot of money to be there today. Yes, I would love to be there for the first game of the World Cup with the majority of the 94,000 crowd cheering on Bafana Bafana. But, most of all, it would be incredible to attend the opening ceremony just to see Nelson Mandela, the world's greatest living person, open the 2010 World Cup with billions watching around the planet.