Nelson Mandela was never just an ordinary man. He was born into a royal family of South Africa. He rose to leadership in the role to which he had been born. On this, the day of his death, I pay a very small tribute to him and link to a powerful two minute video.
After attending law school in Johannesburg, he became a leader in the African National Congress. He was a member of the Afrikaner Nationalist Party. In that capacity, he participated in activities to challenge apartheid. As a result of his leadership activities, conducted in defiance of apartheid and the ruling powers, he was charged with crimes such as sedition, sabotage, and conspiracy to overthrow the government. In 1962, he was sentenced to life in prison. He served 27 years of that sentence, before being released from prison in 1990 as the result of international human rights pressure (Wikipedia).
Was he bitter? Did he waiver in his commitment to nonviolence? Did he seek to retaliate against his oppressors? Gather the answers from this two minute interview with Bill Moyers, in 1991:
Nelson Mandela on Non-violence from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.
After being released from prison, he led negotiations to abolish apartheid, with his nonviolent approach quelling fears of the White people of violent retaliation. Following elections, he became the first dark skinned leader elected in the post-Apartheid South Africa. In this leadership role, he exemplified the values of reconciliation and forgiveness. His government instituted a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring about restorative justice to communities affected by apartheid. Measures were also implemented to defuse ethnic tensions, encourage land reform, reduce poverty, and expand health care services. Following his term, he served as elder statesman.
Rest in Peace, Madiba. 18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013. May we live up to your example of life, hope, leadership, and nonviolence in thought and deed.