I was born after the death of JFK, so I could never quite understand the depth that a single news event carried in the lives of my parents’ generation. . .until the day I joined the world in observing a vastly different news story, one of great hope and joy, the day Nelson Mandela was released from jail. There’s a crispness and a clarity to the memory, a sense of knowing I was living in one of those historical moments that would carry significance beyond the mere opening of a prison door.
As a college student, my developing political and social consciousness gained focus and momentum from the worldwide pressure upon the South African government to do the right thing. It was my first experience with choosing to boycott corporations which put their bottom line before human rights. It was our opportunity as young activists to put our budding social consciences to work.
It’s not grief, really, that I feel at his death today at the age of 95. We knew the day was coming. Indeed, there were premature reports of his death only a few months ago. It’s been rehearsed. Nevertheless, a great light has gone from among us, a powerful chapter has come to a close, a good man has gone on.
Gratitude List for the gifts Mandela gave the world:
1. For his unswerving commitment to human rights and equality, to basic human dignity.
2. For his tenacity in the face of injustice, great hardship, and terrible wrong.
3. For his firm choice to choose a path of reconciliation and peace rather than vengeance and retribution, even when vengeance seemed his right.
4. For the way he turned our minds and hearts towards the work of creating a more just world.
5. For his humanity and humility.
May we walk in Beauty.
“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.” –Nelson Mandela
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” –Nelson Mandela
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” –Nelson Mandela
“For to 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.” –Nelson Mandela
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”–Nelson Mandela
<Quotations found on GoodReads>