I was born in Cape Town, South Africa during the time of apartheid to a white South African family opposed to the racist regime. My parents took their 5 children and left their beloved South Africa when I was only 9 months old to escape the violence, inequality and grave violation of human rights.
In this article I want to pay tribute to the incredible soul Nelson Mandela for the immeasurable good he brought to my country and to the world.
A Soul Can Shine So Brightly
Nelson Mandela gave his life for his country and for humanity. He embraced who he was truly born to be and, in so doing, he brought enlightenment to the world.
He suffered beyond measure but he said at the end that if he had the choice to live his life again he would do it all just the same.
1. You Can Forgive
Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, he lost so many that he loved dearly, and he watched as his people were violated, murdered and imprisoned because of the colour of their skin.
He had as much reason as anyone to harbour hatred, resentment and self-pity but he didn’t.
Mandela forgave and he taught his people, black and white, to forgive and move forward for a better future. He even held tribunals in which, the oppressors and the oppressed could tell their stories.
People who had been castrated, raped, and had loved ones murdered before their eyes, had the opportunity to hear their offender deeply repent and they had the opportunity to forgive.
No matter how much you have suffered, you too can forgive.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Mandela
2. Dream Of A Better Life
Mandela dedicated his life to a dream that his country would be saved from the horror of racism. It took some dreaming to imagine a life in which black people were not oppressed, but he dreamed it.
So many of us accept the status quo. We have forgotten what it means to seek the life that we really want.
Does the world around you have to be so bleak or horrific in order for you to dream of more?
You can dream of an amazing life for yourself – no dream is too big.
“It always seems impossible until its done.” Mandela
3. Don’t Give Up
When Mandela was imprisoned for so long in a cell of 8 by 7 ft, he did not lose hope and he did not let his light go out.
He continued to shine across oceans and seas to the rest of the world who began to awaken to his message.
Not in all his years of missing out on being with his family or his years of imprisonment did Mandela crack.
Not even when his people thought he had betrayed them, or when they began fighting amongst themselves.
Right until the end, he never took his eye off his dream.
“Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.” Mandela
4. Do What You Were Born To Do
He had a calling to bring about monumental transformation in the world and he listened to it.
But we all have a calling.
We all have a purpose here. It may not be to revolutionise our nation, but we still have one that is special only to us.
Connect with who you are and the amazing gift you are meant to bring the world. In this way, you will thrive in your state of authenticity.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Mandela
5. Accept Yourself And All Your Vices
Mandela said that he did not want to be seen as a demi-God. He professed that he was just a man and that he had virtues and vices just like everyone else.
He accepted himself completely as he was, and in so doing he was able to accept the virtues and vices of others.
Ultimately this is what allowed him to forgive.
No matter what, you can love and accept yourself completely as you are.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Mandela
Thank you Mandela for the phenomenal work you have done on this planet. I have learnt so much from you. I send you infinite love and gratitude.
What can you learn from this amazing soul?