Nelson Mandela, 1918-201306 Dec 2013
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
~ Nelson Mandela
The world has lost a great soul; surely among the greatest to ever walk the earth. We mourn for the people of South Africa, who, in one blow, have lost their George Washington, their Mahatma Gandhi, and their Martin Luther King. Mandela was indeed the father of modern South Africa, first and foremost a peacemaker, but like Gandhi and King, a fighter for justice and a revolutionary who could not rest as long as his people still suffered beneath the violence and racial hatred of their oppressors.
Mandela’s work to build a peaceful South Africa – one that gave the full measure of citizenship to everyone, regardless of race – fulfilled the dreams of those who carried on the struggle before him, like John Langalibele Dube, the minister who founded what eventually became the African National Congress, and a young attorney from Gujarat named Mohandas Gandhi, who forged his philosophy of nonviolent resistance during his long and bitter campaign for racial justice in South Africa, before he returned to liberate his homeland.
Clearly, Mandela took to heart the lessons of Gandhi’s struggle, and led his nation to a new beginning without the bloodletting that marked so many other post-colonial transitions in Africa. Despite 27 years in prison, and the endless train of depredations to which he and his people were subject at the hands of the apartheid government, Mandela persevered in his commitment to nonviolence, and eventually won the day. Mandela’s legacy will live as long as recorded history, an object lesson to those who mistake the path of peace for the path of weakness. The singularity of his vision was matched by his indomitable will, his firmness of purpose, and his generosity of spirit. His life and his example have been a gift to the world.
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