As the world comes to terms with the passing of Nelson Mandela, tributes from all corners of the globe continue to pour in, from South African citizens celebrating the life of their "Tata," to world leaders and iconic monuments. The national memorial service held in Soweto yesterday was attended by thousands paying their respects to a man who shaped the course of history and brought pride to the African continent. We were especially moved by this powerful poem by Dr Maya Angelou, the American author and poet best known for her autobiographical book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, written as a tribute to the beloved anti-apartheid activist and elder statesman. Composed on behalf of the American people, the poem eloquently speaks to Mandela's importance to both South Africans and the rest of the world, referring to him as "David, armed with a mere stone, facing down the mighty Goliath."
Angelou was amongst the writers whose works kept Mandela going through his 27 year prison sentence on Robben Island, and he recited her poem "Still I Rise" at his presidential inauguration. The US State Department has circulated the poem in 15 different languages on behalf of Dr Angelou (the full text can be read on their website). Watch the video below which features Dr Angelou reciting the poem and sets her words to memorable images from Mandela's life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PqQzjit7b1w