There are very few people in the world that have touched as many people as Nelson Mandela. In fact, that list is so short, if you only use 1 hand to count, you will still have unused fingers to count with.
Perhaps the best way to measure the greatness of a person is based in both numbers and time. Even the greatest of politicians fall short simply because the time they have significant influence is usually limited to 10 years or less. Even past Popes have had generally short times of influence despite the numbers of people who looked up to them. It is only the people who have had direct influence of 40 years or more of positive influence that can make it into that elite club of the best of the best.
In our view there are only 2 other people on the planet who have made that list, thus making the list of the best of the best very short indeed. Of the other people on that list there is Mother Theresa of Calcutta India who started into her work with the poor in 1948 until the day she died in 1997. Her name was world known and her influence on politicians of all faiths was nothing short of immense. She was able to do things no others could.
The other name on that list is King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. He has been on the throne since 1950 and he has single handedly changed the lives of all Thai people. Thailand was once parched and dry. But now thanks to the King, Thailand has been able to produce the world’s best rice. Like Mother Theresa he has the respect of the world because of the true connection he has with the people.
Nelson Mandela’s true legacy got started around the same time in 1950 when he was with the ANC fighting South Africa’s apartheid. From then on he continued to motivate people even from behind bars. Images of posters that said FREE MANDELA still are etched into peoples minds.
Perhaps the most defining moment that solidified Nelson Mandela in the elite group was the image of a loan man walking down a long road from the prison he was held in. Nelson Mandela had no idea how much he had influenced the world from his jail cell. Even the world media who was waiting at the end of the road with live broadcasts was not sure who was walking down the road because nobody had seen him for 27 years. His aged face was very different from those on the posters.
Nelson had no idea the world media was that huge crowd waiting for him. He expected perhaps only family waiting for him. It was the moment the media realized that lone man was indeed Nelson Mandela that the world started to rejoice.
From that moment on, Nelson Mandela became a world figure and eventually was elected President of South Africa. Later Nelson Mandela founded theelders.org that are a group of senior statesman and influential people that have helped shape the world. They are all also contenders for the elite club that nelson Mandela was part of.
Nelson Mandela’s legacy will live on long past his death. His name will still be spoken and his life will be taught about for many generations to come. He was no less important to South Africa than George Washington was to the USA. His passing is a significant point in world history, and that is why we have awarded him our highest honor, The Shining Star. If we ranked Shining Star awards, he would be a Super Nova.