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Home » What I learned from Nelson Mandela by Boyd Varty – TED Talk Transcript

What I learned from Nelson Mandela by Boyd Varty – TED Talk Transcript

Boyd Varty

“In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back to us.” Boyd Varty, a wildlife activist, shares stories of animals, humans and their interrelatedness, or “ubuntu” — defined as, “I am, because of you.” And he dedicates the talk to South African leader Nelson Mandela, the human embodiment of that same great-hearted, generous spirit.”

This Talk was given in December 2013


Boyd Varty – Environmental and literacy activist

I’m a man who’s trying to live from his heart. And so just before I get going, I wanted to tell you as a South African that one of the men who has inspired me most passed away a few hours ago. Nelson Mandela has come to the end of his long walk to freedom. And so this talk is going to be for him.

I grew up in wonder. I grew up amongst those animals. I grew up in the wild eastern part of South Africa at a place called Londolozi Game Reserve. It’s a place where my family has been in the safari business for four generations. Now for as long as I can remember, my job has been to take people out into nature, and so I think it’s a lovely twist of fate today to have the opportunity to bring some of my experiences out in nature in to this gathering.

Africa is a place where people still sit under starlit skies and around campfires and tell stories, and so what I have to share with you today is the simple medicine of a few campfire stories, stories about heroes of heart. Now my stories are not the stories that you’ll hear on the news, and while it’s true that Africa is a harsh place, I also know it to be a place where people, animals and ecosystems teach us about a more interconnected world.

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