IT was inspiring to see the International Rugby Board join millions of mourners in acknowledging the death of Nelson Mandela last week.
When the 16 teams stood at the stadium named after this great man in the IRB's South African leg of the Sevens World Series, there was obviously deep respect for the late leader. You could see it in the faces of the fans and players.
Fondly known by his people as Madiba, Mandela understood and appreciated the vital link between sports and nation-building.
It is a factor Fijians have known for many years.
How can we ever forget the many happy memories of victories at So Kon Po in Hong Kong for instance?
When sports stars like Waisale Serevi inspired the national rugby sevens side to victory, we united as one people in joy and merry-making. And when the team lost, it hurt a nation.
Religion, race and gender were discarded and replaced by a sense of belonging, appreciation, acknowledgement and patriotism every time the national side ran onto the field.
Sometimes when we stared at a blank wall and defeat was inevitable, there were some moments when we clawed our way back to win, even when the hooter had sounded.
Such moments were priceless and remain on the minds of many Fijians.
They are special for many reasons. And some of us take such moments for granted.
The late Madiba understood how it all worked.
He understood how a nation could be united and change, no matter how difficult to accept, could be encouraged.
Madiba firmly believed that sport had the power to change the world. He believed it had the power to unite people.
He believed sport could create hope and was more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.
By now, many of you know the result of our campaign in South Africa. We defeated Australia, France and Scotland in our pool games.
Whatever the result, it is important to realise and accept the fact that for thousands of Fijians, the national side carries our hopes and aspirations.
As we have always known, no imaginary boundaries can ever take that away.
Perhaps we should translate that deep sense of patriotism into action on a daily basis and to a certain extent, use it to guide how we live our lives.
Again, it was good to see Ben Ryan and the team holding themselves up well against quality opposition.
We have certainly come of age.
Go Fiji, go.