If you have already heard the news, then you must of heard the passing away of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Reports say that he died in his sleep, peacefully. Ironically, his life wasn’t at all peaceful. Yet, he was always smiling, never letting life get in his way. We need more of that from us and people around us, yet that isn’t what made him such an inspiring figure. It takes an overall good character to be able to inspire a nation. Yet his character inspired not only a nation, but the entire world. Therefore, it is our duty in honoring him, that we examine what made his life so inspiring.
The first point that made his life such an inspiring one was his courage against the apartheid. South Africa was a much different place back in the 70’s and 80’s. In South Africa, the country was divided into a black part of the country and the white part of the country. In pertaining to them, the black citizens in South Africa were denied rights that were available to white citizens. Nelson Mandela was born into this environment, full of all the hate, prejudices and racial discrimination that was embedded in South Africa at the time. He then joined the African National Congress in order to protest against the Apartheid.His revolutionary activities got the attention of the South African Government, which landed him a place in jail at Robben Island. Yet, Before he went to jail, he had an unwavering commitment to justice. He possessed a will of stone. Probably forged due to his career as a boxer. His commitment to justice was a daunting task in the apartheid South Africa. Yet, he didn’t waver in his commitment and kept battling against the Apartheid, much like a boxer with his opponent.
The second point that made his life such an inspiring one was his patience. When Mandela was tried for crimes against the country of South Africa, he was handed a sentence of life imprisonment. He spent almost 28 years in 3 prisons before he was freed by the South African Government. Imagining what Mandela must have went through, both physically and Psychologically, is pretty heavy. Yet, he went through that whole chapter with patience due to his unwavering commitment against the apartheid.He possessed not only patience, but also gratitude throughout his whole tenure in prison. Mandela was also inspired throughout his time in prison by a poem entitled Invictus. Mandela considered this poem to be his favorite and he always kept the verses with him for the rest of his life.
The last point that made his life such an inspiring one was his forgiveness. He forgave the government of South Africa for putting him in prison for over 28 years. His forgiveness helped seal his identity as an icon, and helped him win the election for the presidency of South Africa. When he was president, his goal was to breakdown the race barriers and prejudices that was an aftermath of the end of the apartheid. He forgave people within the government because of a bigger goal in mind; uniting South Africa.
The passing of Nelson Mandela is a loss to the world, yet his legacy lives on. Hist story of struggle has inspired millions of people, his life a beacon of love. His heart was an open one, all forgiving and patient. In honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves. Therefore, we need to contemplate, remember, and implement the character that this great man possessed; A man named Nelson Mandela.