I Admire Nelson Mandela
A Truly Great Man
Mandela’s autobiography is titled Long Walk to Freedom. I have not read it (yet), but the title is as wise as the man himself. It echoes the struggle of his race as well as his individual life.
I believe in his goal of ending apartheid, and I am glad that it was accomplished. I am going to set that aside for now, because it is the man himself that I am interested in for purposes of this story.
The leader of the anti-apartheid movement used peaceful means of resistance to the government for as long as possible, and then finally resorted to violence in the form of bombs placed in government offices in such a way that no one would be hurt or killed. He believed absolutely in his cause, and was willing to die for it. He thought it worthy of his own life and yet did his utmost to spare the lives of others.
He was sent to prison for 27 years on convictions of sabotage of the South African government.
He came out…an unchanged man. His convictions were as strong as ever in the equality of ALL people. He saw Good in white people (aka his persecutors) as well as in his own race, for whom he had been fighting. Whenever he was presented with an example of a white person who had committed an act of hatred toward his race, he found and provided for others an example of a white person who had performed an act of love.
In April 1993, amid fears that his nation would erupt into violence after the assassination of the newer anti-apartheid leader, he addressed his country thusly: “Tonight I am reaching out to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being. A white man, full of prejudice and hate, came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink of disaster. A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice, this assassin. The cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani has sent shock waves throughout the...