We are aware that Nelson Mandela was a controversial figure in this life. He admitted to 156 acts of violence as a young man. Apparently, his view was to counteract oppression and violence with violence.
Yet, people change, sometimes toward bitterness and despair, other times toward a greater vision that we are all in this together. Mr. Mandela seems to have transformed in prison to seeing the humanity in all with the one exception of the unborn. Yes, he had a flaw there in not seeing deeply enough into the humanity of the most vulnerable.
It is for his stand against the evils of apartheid, a stand that ultimately became non-violent, that we say thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mandela, for your unwavering vision and amazing courage. You guided a nation in transition away from violence. It could have been very different.
One case in point: he invited his jailer to an honored place for the Presidential Inaugural Address.
He showed by his actions that forgiveness is the way back for South Africa.
As another case in point: How many reprisals against apartheid happened after he was elected? People listened.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Nelson Mandela.
He did not always see clearly, but he matured to see that political violence is no solution at all.
Rest in peace.