The world’s grandfather is now at rest, and as much as I have dreaded this sad moment, I’m not as upset as I thought I would be. I truly feel that he achieved his purpose on this Earth, and is now tired, so deserves to rest. It is now time for us to learn from his work and words, and fulfil his legacy as people.
In all the tributes I have watched on television and read online since last night, the one thing that remains consistent is how in awe people are at Nelson Mandela’s level of forgiveness. He was imprisoned for 27 years just because he wanted black people and white people to be able to live together peacefully in his country. Eighteen of those years were spent in solitary confinement. Can you imagine? Yet, upon his release in 1990, while people were expecting riots and some sort of war, and even stocking up on canned foods in case they had to hide in their homes, he peacefully celebrated his release, and peacefully continued the work towards building the South Africa he believed in. There was no threat of revenge for what he had been through, he rather chose to forgive those who had treated him so badly. If anything, he got his revenge by winning. Imagine that was you. Would you have dealt with it in the same way? I can’t say I definitely would have.
This makes me think about forgiveness in general. There are very few things that people are ‘beefing’ about, that would be on the scale of what Mandela would have had ‘beef’ with, and yet he was able to let it go. Therefore I have learned that holding a grudge isn’t worth your energy. Well actually, I think I’ve been learning this over the past few years, in relation to issues between family members; deal with it and move on, or get over it and move on. Either way – move on, and this has been reiterated for me in the last day.
So what have you learnt, if anything, from Nelson Mandela’s life?