Saturday 1390 – 7.12.2013
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I could not let this Saturday go past without comment on the recent death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95.
He was not a perfect individual, he made mistakes which he has openly admitted to. For example his early ignoring of the Aids epidemic in Africa, he was not alone in this, which he later apologised for and went on to lead the battle against the disease. In 2005 his own son died from an AIDS related illness.
He did not renounce violence in his younger days in the early 1960’s, but look at the background in South Africa at that time and how brutally suppressed the black majority were and you will see that this is hardly surprising. He admitted that he had been a terrorist but that he eventually turned his back on violence, becoming first a politician and then a statesman, is to his credit.
He was accused of being a communist, which he always denied, and in 1964 he said this
“Theoretical differences amongst those fighting against oppression is a luxury we cannot afford at this stage. What is more, for many decades communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us; talk with us, live with us, and work with us. They were the only political group which was prepared to work with the Africans for the attainment of political rights and a stake in society.”
His impact on the Civil Rights movement is justifiably legendary.
Nelson Mandela’s ability to admit his human failings ( which we all have) was one of his attributes that, in my opinion, set him apart from other world leaders and still does.
I have been inspired throughout my life by his core belief in forgiveness and reconciliation as I’m sure many have.
I remember so well Mandela’s release from prison, as this occurred on my 36th birthday on 11th February 1990. Best present ever !. I watched live on TV and felt the excitement shared by so many around the world at the prospect of the dismantling of the abhorrent, unjust apartheid regime operating in South Africa . I think we should also remember the then President FW de Klerk’s part in the changes that came at this time. He too acted with great bravery.
Mandela’s detractors are already appearing on Social Media sites but I would say this to them –
Could you have done better ?
Have you done better ?
Have you done anything at all to improve the lives of your fellow human beings ?
Have you inspired generations to believe in reconciliation and forgiveness?
As ever I welcome your thoughts.
Saturday girl signing off.
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