Nelson Mandela

I've ditched a St Nicholas Day post because there's no way I can ignore yesterday's death of Nelson Mandela, one of the people of our time that I find most inspiring.

I think the best way to pay tribute to him is to use some of Mandela's words. Here's a few that mean something to me:
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
" be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
"As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest."
"I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope."
And here are a few links I found helpful today:

Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town's Prayer for Madiba.

May Mandela's legacy be to continue to inspire people to work courageously for justice and freedom from oppression for all people, with acts of compassion, reconciliation and forgiveness. 

And that leads me to a challenging quote from Nick Baines in Nelson Mandela RIP
"If only those who admire, revere and quote him could emulate him. It is easier to admire him than it is to live like him - justice with mercy, hope with realism, generosity with responsibility. He liberated his oppressors by forgiving them - if we really take him seriously, we must ask how we can liberate our 'oppressors' or opponents? Easy to admire, hard to do."
Mmm...didn't Nelson Mandela say in an interview with John Battersby in February 200 that
"One of the most difficult things is not to change society- but to change youself." for Advent thought there. 

Image Credit: Wikicommons


  1. Real GREAT Personality. Unlike our politicians of today. Did not live to make money for himself or his family. He lived, suffered and died for his country. May His Soul Rest In Peace.

    1. I wonder if one of the things that makes someone 'great' as a leader is the capacity for reconciliation?

  2. It's fascinating to watch how Mandela's ability to forgive and seek reconciliation is being revered yet it isn't a trait that is generally lauded in our selfish society today.

    1. Wanting to get even and settle scores is a common natural reaction I think and appeals to people's sense of fairness as well as a way to express anger against those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is so much harder and I doubt if it came easily to Mandela. Was it something he had to work on during those years in prison? Was it also a gift from God blessing him with the grace to do it?


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