Supporters Salute 1990 Feb

Best Life Lesson From Nelson Mandela

I have never met Nelson Mandela. Neither have I met Zhou En Lai, John F. Kennedy nor Martin Luther King. Each of their passing, however, has left an imprint on my subconscious – an imprint that I can recall in times of need or when I need encouragement.

Nelson Mandela ~ From China Daily

Nelson Mandela ~ From China Daily

A Great Statesman…

Mandela led his people and country through tumultuous changes, from winning the fight over apartheid and racism to a united South Africa under democracy. He showed us that the qualities of honesty, sincerity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity and the readiness to serve others, are qualities that are within easy reach of each one of us. I think we too can emulate by trying harder.

Mandela's House in Soweto

Mandela’s House in Soweto

Visiting A Country Of Great Diversity…

My family and I visited South Africa in December 2002, 12 years after Mandela was released from the Robben Island prison and 8 years after his election to the presidency. It was our first visit to the continent of Africa. Johannesburg then was not too welcoming and we stayed at Sandton instead. We had wanted to visit Robben Island, off Capetown. So the first thing we did after flying into Capetown from Sandton was heading straight to buy tickets to visit Robben. Unfortunately they were all sold out for all the four days that we had planned to stay in Capetown. We miscalculated its iconic significance and its attraction to the world.

Long Walk To Freedom…

In his long walk to freedom, Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison, of which 18 years were spent in Robben Island near Capetown. Despite the harsh prison conditions and the brutal treatment from his jail wardens, Mandela was never a broken man. I believe that both his Adversity Quotient and Resilience Quotient must rank second to none.


He famously quoted this in 1990 when he was released from Robben prison ~ “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” This I believe is the best life lesson from the great man. In one word it is his call for reconciliation amongst the once-warring factions to abandon feelings of bitterness and animosity and to move forward.

Mandela’s Legacy Of Reconciliation…

I believe Mandela’s call for reconciliation is his legacy and is something of value that I should like to share in this post. As 2013 draws to a close, this holiday season of family gatherings and reunions can be more meaningful when the bitterness and hatred of family and sibling squabbles can be buried behind and are replaced by reconciliation. You and I can do this as our simple tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Mourning Crowd at the old Cape Town City Hall

Mourning Crowd at the old Cape Town City Hall

Keeping Relationships Alive…

“Death’s not the greatest loss in life.                                                                                                                                                                                                      The greatest loss is when                                                                                                                                                                                                                relationships die inside us                                                                                                                                                                                                                       while we are still alive.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~ [Lovely Thoughts About Life, a poem which I am unable to give credit to because I do not know its source. I would appreciate if my readers can help.]

Notes :

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Related Posts:

1. Nelson Mandela death: South Africa and world mourn ~ BBC

2. Nelson Mandela Inspired Millions To Bridge Divides, Seek Peaceful Change ~ The Huffington Post

3. Table Talk: The Passing Of Nelson Mandela ~ The Huffington Post

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