The killing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a tragic helicopter crash has robbed the world of one of its finest athletes and a true champion.
The Royal House of Mandela (RHoM) celebrates this great departed soul and share our heartfelt condolences with his family, fellow LA Lakers team-mates, the people of the USA and sportloving people of the world.
Kobe embodied Madiba’s vision that sport can be a great unifier and offer hope to the underprivileged.
He also demonstrated the important role that sportsmen and sportswomen can play in giving back to communities and reinvesting time, effort and resources to build a better world.
Kobe will undoubtedly be remembered for his stellar achievements including being 5 times NBA Champion and 2 times Olympic Gold Medalist. However his legacy beyond sport will memorialize him forever and his contribution will be remembered for many generations to come.
His life and achievements demonstrate that if we have a sense of purpose we can soar to extraordinary heights of prestige and accomplishments regardless of the obstacles and impediments that weigh us down.
Like Madiba he did not fear standing for justice and raising the flag of the oppressed people’s of the world. He was a true champion of the Palestinian cause and dared call for an end to the occupation and the right of return of six million Palestinian refugees languishing in dusty refugee concentration camps and all over the diaspora.
His visit to South Africa last year was an immense inspiration to thousands of underprivileged young people and motivated them and us to be the best we can be and to strive selflessly to make the world a better place for all.
Words cannot adequately describe the vastness of the loss nor the profound depth of sadness that his untimely departure has left.
The void can only be filled by others stepping up to the plate and emulating his example. I hope that all young people and especially those from underprivileged communities whose daily existence and survival depends on the choices they make follow in his footsteps.
He was an extraordinary human being and it is often said that the greatness of a person can be judged by how great you are with your family. Kobe’s loving relationship with his daughter Gianna was the epitome of parent child and father daughter relationships. They were the most loving, caring and adorable to observe. They embodied and radiated love and affection and their death leaves a gaping chasm in the life of all who knew them.
Kobe Bryant lived a full and interesting life. Some may consider this an accident or coincidence of history but we believe that the secret lies in the choices he made. He could have lavished in the prestige of his sporting achievements but he chose to live a life more interesting, significant and meaningful.
Kobe lived his life by what the great Brazilian author Paulo Coelho described in these words: “it’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
We call for a day of international mourning to celebrate this great giant. Rest in peace Kobe Bryant. You will forever be remembered as a champion of the world and a hero of the underprivileged and oppressed.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly.