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I recall those days in school when we sang a song that tells the story of Mandela and apartheid in South Africa. We chanted lots of words among them were – nepotism, tribalism- and the rest of them. In reality, most of us loved this bit because of the rhyme not that we necessarily understood what they truly meant at that time.

Over the years,  I have read lots of his works and how he fought for what he believed in. I admired his courage. In my opinion, his strength and character are out of this world. When asked who a rare gem is, I would simply say it was Mandela.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela the day he was freed. 
Below is a list of some of his inspiring and lifetime quotes:
  • “If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.
  • “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.” 
  • “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”
  •  “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”
  •  “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
  •  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  •  “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
  • “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.”
  •  “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
  •  “Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”
  • “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
  •  “I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”
  •  “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
  • “Without democracy there cannot be peace.”
  • “We are fighting for a society where people will cease thinking in terms of colour.” 
  • “When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.”  
  • “Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.” “I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” 
  • “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.”
  • “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
  • “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” 
  • “When people are determined they can overcome anything.”
The list is endless. There is a particular one; not mentioned above that I found very powerful. According to him, if he had come out of prison with so much hatred and bitterness he would have still be in prison. I found that very interesting because I think it has a deep meaning and shows that he had a very good heart and was a wise man. 
In addition, when I read the speech on his trial in 1964, I was surprised how he ended such a lengthy and well-structured write-up by saying  ”It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”. That reminded me of a biblical verse where Jesus said, Father if it is your will let this cup pass me by- during His time of temptations. Making such a statement and standing by it during his 27years in prison and afterwards, shows the content of his character. Unbelievable, how he called for reconciliation even when his own people were willing to fight, he was not influenced and stood for justice and truth. And he achieved them. He had a large heart which all and sundry benefited from. He brought justice to his people and made all Blacks proud.

In my eyes, Mandela is a saint. Despite suffering from tuberculosis, he was still the hero and man of the people. 

He was a blessing to this generation and those to come. Rest in the bosom of the Lord Madiba; where there will be absolute peace and love, Amen. Your legacy lives on.

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