Originally written on All Sports Everything  |  Last updated 8/26/14
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.” – Nelson Mandela These were the words once spoken by Nelson Mandela and are considered to be one of the most thoughtful explanations with regard to the transformative capabilities of sports.  He didn’t just talk the talk, he walked it too.  Mandela’s greatest illustration of this sentiment was exhibited through his appearance at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted by South Africa. After enduring 27 years in prison, Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa’s post-apartheid era in 1994.  Despite the new laws abolishing segregation, racial tensions remained.  It took Mandela’s appearance at the Rugby match between South Africa’s Springboks, a nearly all-white team and a symbol of oppression, and New Zealand’s All Blacks, to initiate the healing of a country. The actions of Mandela, who wore a green Springbok jersey to the match, were so remarkable and significant, the movie Invictus starring Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, was created to show the power of sport and its role in leading a nation from segregation into democracy. At the 2009 ESPY Awards, ESPN told this story, complete with interviews from Springbok players.  I dug up the footage.  Watch the moving video below. Today is Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday.  Internationally, his birthday is recognized as Mandela Day, a call to action for all of us to partake in honoring and preserving his legacy.  In light of the George Zimmerman verdict, many of us have asked ourselves what actions we can take to uplift our communities and unify our nation. I know I have.  Actually, my self-analysis is constant but it became more urgent when premature reports of Mandela’s imminent death surfaced.  As I reflected on the magnitude of his influence, I was reminded of this great speech, and planned on posting it then, but never did.  Instead, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to honor him, his life’s work, and selfless contributions today. Happy birthday, Madiba. Your life has been a gift to all of humanity.  Thank you. @itsshanarenee
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Marlins, Ichiro Suzuki agree to one-year, $2M deal

College basketball weekend preview

Browns player: Manziel’s rookie season was a joke

Kobe jokingly blames torn rotator cuff on passing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Romo campaigns to keep Dez and DeMarco

NFL's Deflategate statement tells us what we already know

Portland's Thomas Robinson is no bust

The Jay Cutler question

Rob Gronkowski blows off Seahawks cornerback's slight

Trent Richardson was suspended for the playoffs

WATCH: J.R. Smith, LeBron half-court alley oop

Sesame Street makes "inflate" the word of the day

Former Panthers GM questions if Patriots cheated in Super Bowl

Oscar De La Hoya to launch cable channel

Ten players to watch in the 2015 Senior Bowl

Cody investigated for animal cruelty; agent disputes claim

Which NBA player should get next on a signature shoe deal?

Seattle butcher sells Lynch Skittles sausage

Three under-the-radar Super Bowl MVP candidates

Anthony Davis draws Barkley portrait on 'Inside the NBA'

Who will be the next college basketball coach to 1,000 wins?

Ad imagines Washington without the Redskins name

Entertainment News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Sesame Street makes "inflate" the word of the day

Which NBA player should get next on a signature shoe deal?

NFL's Deflategate statement doesn't say much

Who's the next coach to 1,000 wins?

The inflated media coverage of the New England Patriots

Gronk blows off Seahawks CB's slight

Bieber helped Raptor become ASG starter?

The all-time Super Bowl team

What if the Colts drafted Ryan Leaf?

Cowboys fan sues NFL for $89 billion

Most heartbreaking NFC/AFC title games

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.