Nelson Mandela's Inspiring Life Brought 2010 World Cup to South Africa

By Phil Naegely
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s society, our role models are pro athletes and popular singers, but many fail to actually inspire us. However, Nelson Mandela‘s life and actions truly inspired those in both South Africa and around the world. On Thursday, the 95-year old former president passed away peacefully at his home in the presence of family. Mandela united South Africans and ended the apartheid through sports.

As we look back and reflect on Mandela’s inspirational life, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa can’t be overlooked as one crowning moment that would not have occurred without Mandela. Through sports like rugby and soccer, Mandela drastically changed the way South Africans thought and how they treated people.

In fact, the loudest moment of the 2010 World Cup was not the vuvuzelas blowing, but it was when fans cheered Mr. Mandela as he walked onto the field before the final match. Mandela’s heroic actions inspired an entire nation to change and challenge the current laws of the land.

Sports are powerful. They allow a diverse society to unite and root on the same team like South Africa in this instance. Instead of being used to drive each other apart, sports can be used to peacefully bring about change. Mandela’s death is a great loss to society, but we should continue to live out his legacy in our own lives. Instead of allowing sports to divide and conquer us, use them as a way to bring about change and unity.

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