“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world, and at peace with myself” – Nelson Mandela

 Sacrifice…forgiveness…reconciliation…honour…These are a few of many words that one cannot but mention when remembering the iconic and legendary man, affectionately known by his clan name Madiba. The words capture the essence of what this great son of South Africa fought for and will forever be remembered for the world over.

 The words also lay at the heart of the choices that guided his life’s path. The choice to speak peace in the face of turmoil; the choice to see light when many of us saw only darkness; the choice to use the bricks before him as building blocks and not weapons, as one would assume may have been a natural instinct, deep within.

It is these choices we salute, for it is the choices a man makes that set him apart.

 Hard choices are not foreign to SAMRO and are, in fact, deeply rooted in its 50 year history. Starting with founder Gideon Roos’ decision to defy the apartheid government’s laws by creating a music right’s organisation that afforded music creators equal opportunity and status. This fighting spirit continued to characterise SAMRO on its journey to become, today, one of the most respected and revered collective management organisations the world over.

 The path that Nelson Mandela chose as a young man was a path that would test his conviction, his bravery and his principles; tests that he would ultimately conquer. This is not to say that cowardice, doubt or fear were not shadows he had to contend with. To the contrary. As a man like all men, he too surely had to face these and other shortcomings. However, as said in his own words, “…(t)he brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

 SAMRO salutes your choices, your courage and, ultimately, your conquering spirit Madiba.

 We salute the choice to dedicate your life to the principles of justice and equality when you took your first steps into student politics at the dawn of the 1940s.

 We salute the painful decision to dedicate your life to the people and freedom of South Africa at the expense of watching your children grow, play and blossom.

 We salute your steadfastness, your integrity and your grace in the face of pre- and post-apartheid opposition and criticism.

 As SAMRO continues to strive to be a corporate citizen with a conscience, a citizen that uses its stature and position of influence responsibly, we can only hope to mirror a fraction of the dignity and sobriety you unwaveringly displayed when consciously and conscientiously choosing the high road over the easy, common road. We hope to bring honour to your legacy by seeking to live up to your ideals of democracy, freedom, harmony and equality.

 We honour your life and your legacy Nkosi Dalibhunga. In the words sung by the late, great music creator, Brenda Nokuzola Fassie, we salute you and bid you a hero’s farewell, qhawe lama qhawe:

“Let us rejoice for our President

Let us sing for our President

Let us pray for our President

Let us sing, let us dance

For Madiba, Madiba’s freedom”