[featured]”Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
– Nelson Mandela[/featured]
Wilson Global Communications remembers the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Madiba to many, and one of the great leaders of our time. Madiba changed the world as a prisoner, a president, a Nobel Prize winner and most importantly, a leader. We extend our sincere condolences to the Mandela family as well, and pray that Madiba’s legacy of peace and reconciliation will comfort and assure them that he achieved his life’s purpose.
As the CEO and founder of Wilson Global, it was Madiba’s profound words, upon his release from Robben Island, that inspired me to travel to South Africa in the first place. As an American television journalist, I covered that historic democratic election in 1994. I celebrated with my new-found friends in South Africa when Madiba was elected president. Influenced by his compassion for a new nation, full of hope and promise, I decided to stay and become a part of the peaceful transition. I partnered with black South Africans to form the first black public relations consultancy – Simeka Pty. Ltd., and became the first American to found a full-service public relations firm in the new South Africa, Wilson Global Communications. Wilson Global reflected the multicultural complexities in South Africa with its black, white, and colored South African staff that spoke 11 official languages.
I was privileged to meet Madiba, and lived in Sandton near his home for several years during his presidency. I also developed a warm relationship with Winnie Mandela, and his daughters, Zinzi and Zenani. I lived, worked and breathed South Africa for several years. I grew to love the country that Mandela’s life helped to create and transform into a global model of multicultural collaboration and peaceful transfer of governance.
I found Mandela’s inner strength and passion for peace and reconciliation to be infectious, motivating me to continue realizing my dream of social entrepreneurism. While Wilson Global is no longer headquartered in Johannesburg, its mission continues to this day, 20 years later, on the strong foundation of South Africa and Madiba’s legacy. I also continue to share my experiences of South Africa under Madiba’s presidency with 11 million young Internet readers through my online column – ‘Fearless Living’ – on Ebony.com.
Today, I am who I am because of Madiba, and Wilson Global has become empowered to expand his inclusive message of multiculturalism and peace to other African countries, China, Brazil, and France.
We join with the billions of people around the world to celebrate the life of this exceptional man. He changed the world with the simple philosophy that “everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
May Madiba rest in God’s perfect peace, and may all of us find comfort in His grace and continue to learn and grow from the lessons Madiba taught.
Julia A. Wilson and Wilson Global Communications