Sunday, July 18, 2010


Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

When I was ten years old, I like the rest of the world watched Nelson Mandela walk to freedom. Back then, I didn't understand his story or why his steps to freedom caused so many wet eyes in my household. In retrospect it was quite the emotional weekend as hours earlier my family was in the depths of despair following Mike Tyson's shock defeat to Buster Douglas. This time though I sensed those tears were happy ones.

As I got older I became fascinated with the story of the man who spent 27 years in jail for daring to speak out against apartheid in South Africa. The more I read, the more my admiration grew for this man who gave up so much of himself for a greater cause. Places like Soweto, Robben Island and names like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and the ANC came alive. Many people have written glowing tributes and deservedly so about Nelson Mandela but for me his capacity to forgive stands out.

How many of us could endure unjust imprisonment and harbour no ill will or bitterness? I would say not many of us given that we find it so difficult to move on from hurts real or imagined. Even though it's been years or months, too many of us still harbour ill will towards the coworker, lover, friend or parent who did us wrong. Yet, this giant of a man who endured so much only preaches a message of forgiveness and inclusion.

On this his 92nd birthday, I cannot wish for him long life because he has already attained such. Instead, I'll thank him for living his life in a manner that inspires many around the world. Thank you Nelson Mandela for making this world a better place.

PS..Still on the road to recovery so excuse my absence.

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