What Nelson Mandela, a Giant amongst African Leaders, gave the world, was an example of tolerance and forgiveness, so when the Trust received a newborn elephant orphaned in Botswana, who had spent time in South Africa before coming to us, we named him “Madiba” in honour of Nelson Mandela. I am sure had the Great Man known that an Elephant bore his tribal name, he would have been very proud, because no mammal gives the human race an example of tolerance and forgiveness than those most like us, the Elephants.
Daphne Sheldrick’s daughter Angela, who now heads the David Sheldrick Trust, trained as a Professional Makeup Artist following Art School at the University of Capetown, after the death of her father, the legendary David Sheldrick in l977.When David died, at the early age of just 56, Angela was only 13 at the time, and so her secondary education was undertaken in South Africa, which was much more affordable than England, at a time when there was no secondary education available in Kenya.
On the 5th May l990, Nelson Mandela posed with the South African Prime Minister, Mr. de Klerk on the lawns of Groote Schuur Estate in Cape Town, having just been released from the Robinson Island Prison, where he had spent the last 26 years. It was Angela Sheldrick who put the finishing touches to both those famous faces, before facing the world’s Press, when Nelson Mandela spoke, for the first time, to the world at large. Angela was nervous because of such a momentous occasion, but both Nelson Mandela and the South African President put her instantly at ease. Little did she realize that she was touching up the face of a man who would earn a place in the esteem of all peoples on earth through his legacy of tolerance and forgiveness.
Angela is very honored and proud to have been involved in a significant piece of history, and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is inordinately proud to have successfuly hand-reared an infant elephant named in honour of this great Statesman. The death of Nelson Mandela on the 5th December 2013 at the age of 95 touched the entire world in an extraordinary way, for he was no ordinary mortal, but a unique and special one. His ideals and legacy live on in an Elephant from Southern Africa, who today graces Kenya’s most famous and important national park, Tsavo, living in freedom which is the birthright of all peoples and the birthright of all Elephants as well.
Rest in Peace Madiba. Your contribution to mankind will never be forgotten and we pray now that Elephant Madiba will also be allowed to live in peace, once the world stops putting a value on his teeth.