Nelson Mandela, Prisoner #46664

(Community Matters) 

nelson mandela

Mr. Mandela described his personal evolution from the temptations of black nationalism to the politics of multiracialism. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But my lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  – Nelson Mandela at trial in 1964

“Madiba” – his clan name and how he liked to be known.

“Mandela knew how important it was to keep Afrikaners loyal. He also knew South Africa could ill-afford what had happened at independence in neighbouring Mozambique: a mass exodus of whites with their skills and capital. So he masked his anger over the past. ” – Financial Times

“His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide,” said former President Jimmy Carter.

“He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale,” the former heavyweight champion boxer Muhammad Ali said in a statement.

“While many thought the Matanzima brothers had betrayed the cause of black liberation, Mandela would not thoroughly denounce them. Perhaps here we could already see the flicker of tolerance to those with opposing views for which he later distinguished himself.” – Zakes Mda

“His utilization of peace as a vehicle of liberation showed Africa that if we were to move beyond the divisiveness caused by colonization, and the pain of our self-inflicted wounds, compassion and forgiveness must play a role in governance. Countries, like people, must acknowledge the trauma they have experienced, and they must find a way to reconcile, to make what was broken whole again.” – John Dramani Mahama, Pres of Ghana (esp resonates as thinking about Palestine) 

“He was not a theoretician, but he was a doer,” Joe Matthews, who worked for Mr. Mandela in the Youth League said in an interview for the television documentary program “Frontline.” “He was a man who did things, and he was always ready to volunteer to be the first to do any dangerous or difficult thing.”

“Congress, following popular sentiment, enacted economic sanctions against investment in South Africa in 1986, overriding the veto of President Ronald Reagan.” – NYT (another instance of Pres Reagan being on the wrong side of history)

“His history as a freedom fighter and political prisoner was merely the warm-up act to his greatest role of all: the apostle of reconciliation who would seduce the Afrikaners into relinquishing power and lead South Africa back into the world.” – Financial Times

“To go to prison because of your convictions,” he said, “and be prepared to suffer for what you believe in, is something worthwhile. It is an achievement for a man to do his duty on earth irrespective of the consequences.” – Nelson Mandela

shame on me for saying I only have one contemporary hero, Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, last week adding a second, Dr. Raj Panjabi, founder of Last Mile Health. Of course Nelson Mandela is another – my first as I think about it.

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