Insight into mind of Mandela

 Though it was not unexpected passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is cause for great sadness among all right-thinking people. When terms such as sacrifice, commitment and struggle are mentioned the name of this iconic figure immediately comes to mind. 

His struggle against the demeaning system of apartheid in his native land led to his imprisonment. Twenty-seven long years were spent in captivity, yet his spirit remained unbroken, his resolve to rid his land of the accursed system unshaken. 

Inmate number 46664 would emerge from those dark days to assume the highest office in his native land, to unify his people so long divided based on race.

That he readily forgave those who held him captive is a testament to the magnanimity of the man. Lesser mortals would have been vengeful, their spirits irretrievably broken. 

While in prison Robben Island he wrote, “I was planning to correct the errors of South Africa and had forgotten that the first step in doing so was to overcome the weakness of the one South African I knew very well, myself”. If ever there was a statement of humility, in my humble view that was it. That statement gives a clear insight into the mind of the man. 

His humanity remained untouched by the dehumanising conditions he was forced to endure, unjustly.

I feel so privileged to have lived in the time of this great man who was loaned to us for a purpose. 

To read his writings gives a sense of being in the presence of greatness, yet the selflessness is ever present.  South Africa has lost her greatest son, but in this time of sadness her spirit can be buoyed up by the knowledge that he has touched people in all walks of life in every corner of the globe. 

While I am personally saddened I will be forever grateful for this man who changed the face of the world, and in a land where many leaders have been self-serving, freedom for his people remained his focus until it was finally achieved.

In a documentary on his life done in 1996, he said “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made the effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep in peace for eternity”. 

Madiba, as he is fondly called, has indeed done his duty, not just for his homeland but for the world. He has indeed earned eternal rest having enriched this borrowed space which we share. 

I join with his countrymen in saying in their native tongue..hamba kahkule Madiba

Elias Lewis


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