Monday, July 18, 2011

Imagine a Man ......

Imagine a man who once said " Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement". Yet imagine that this same man spent twenty seven years in captivity in a small cell, for expressing and trying to implement his the belief and conviction that all people should be equally free; expressing this as a black man living in an apartheid country, the country that he was born and raised in, South Africa.

Imagine a man who said " No one is born hating another person because of the color 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." Yet, imagine that this man  spent twenty seven years in solitary confinement  with his mind for his companion, and his clean conscience and positive and enlightening thoughts for his guide.  Imagine this man spending his days doing hard labor in the lime quarry on Robben Island.

Imagine a man who had been a lawyer, a freedom fighter, a political prisoner; a wise man who never compromised his own integrity, morals, or values; a peacemaker, a visionary; and an honest, humble, and giving man. Imagine a man who remains without resentment of all the indignity and hardship he has had to endure, and  has risen above all that he suffered through. Imagine this same man saying:
" Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."

Imagine a man who, in is younger days was was an activist against apartheid. Apartheid is an unjust form of segregation, that enforced discrimination against black people in law, politics and society. Imagine a man who, in 1962, was arrested and convicted for his activism against apartheid. Imagine this man spent 27 years in jail off the coast of South Africa on Robben Island imprisoned in a small cell away from his family, friends, and all he knew.  Imagine that this man was only allowed one visit and one letter every six months. Imagine that this same man won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and is still very respected and honoured by the  people of South Africa, and many people worldwide. Imagine that this man, over the last four decades, has won over 250 awards.

Imagine this man saying the following:
"That was one of the things that worried me – to be raised to the position of a semi-god – because then you are no longer a human being. I wanted to be known as Mandela, a man with weaknesses, some of which are fundamental, and a man who is committed, but never the less, sometimes he fails to live up to expectations."

Imagine that this man whilst still  in prison  undertook study with the University of London by correspondence through its External Programme and received the degree of Bachelor of Laws.

Imagine this same man being the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Imagine that following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, this man led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. Imagining all of these things, one can only imagine that this man had to be an exemplary good leader and a symbol of hope for the people of South Africa as well as the world.
Imagine that this man actually exists, and all that you have read above as requests to let your imagination explore the possibilities of such a man existing are factual, and this one man carried out and endured all that you have read, and much more.

Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Mvezo, a village near Mthatha in the Transkei, on July 18, 1918, to his parents Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Henry Mgadla Mandela. After his father’s death in 1927, the young Rolihlahla became the ward of Jongintaba Dalindyebo.  Dalindyebo was the Paramount Chief, and his plan was to groom  Rolihlahla Mandela for a position in high office. Rolihlahla Mandela  received a primary education at a local mission school, where he was given the name Nelson. He then became known as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.


Mandela Day on 18 July is an annual international day adopted by the United Nations. Individuals, communities and organisations are asked to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Nelson Mandela gave to the struggle for social justice.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success.” — Nelson Mandela, 17 December 2009

“Our most valued treasure is our people, especially the youth.” — Nelson Mandela, 20 February 1997

“A happy family life is an important pillar to any public man.” — Nelson Mandela, 6 May 1979

“It would be an exaggeration to say I never become depressed.” — Nelson Mandela, 1993

“When people are determined they can overcome anything.” — Nelson Mandela,14 November 2006

“The freedom we enjoy is a richly textured gift handcrafted by ordinary folk.” — Nelson Mandela, 11 July 1996

“The real meaning of the spoken word has to be demonstrated by practical deeds.” — Nelson Mandela, 7 June 1990

“It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”

— Nelson Mandela, Closing Address 13th International Aids Conference, Durban, South Africa, 14 July 2000.

“It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all.”
— Nelson Mandela, 25 June 2008