Once in a generation comes a person who changes the direction of his country. And sometimes that person changes the world, as well.
Sometimes you see them grow slowly in front of you, from a distant gleam into a mighty torch. Gandhi went from community activist to father of a nation over a lifetime. Martin Luther King Jr. went from Atlanta preacher to the speech at the Washington monument that changed America, over a decade.
Nelson Mandela went from a nearly forgotten prisoner on Robben Island to the father of South Africa, as a nation of freemen and women, in one moment, on one sunny morning before the whole world. No one who saw it will ever forget the sight of the man his people called 'Mandiba,' striding out in front of an ecstatic crowd on February 11, 1990.
South Africa was never the same, Africa was never the same. For those of us who had played small roles in winning that day, the world was never the same. His impact was that powerful, that immediate.