In the late 20th Century, there were two significant Southern African nationalists: Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe. In vaguely similar contexts, these two men took noticeably different approaches to de-colonisation and nation building. Consequently, one will always be the heroic statesman, the other, a scoundrel.
Here are 5 lessons from a remarkable story:
- Violence may sometimes be justified, if only it allows us to reveal great injustice.
“I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.”- We must persevere in every circumstance: in captivity, condemnation or despair.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”- Nothing momentous in history ever happens without lots of ordinary people (who we never hear about), playing pivotal roles... All over the Western world, mostly young, but all idealistic people fought hard for the freedom of people they had never met!
-We should learn to forgive. It's powerful.
“I am not the only one who did not want revenge. Almost all my colleagues in prison did not want revenge, because there is no time to do anything else except to try and save your people.”- Even if you become THE biggest deal in the world, stay humble.
"If you are humble, you are no threat to anybody. Some behave in a way that dominates others. That's a mistake. If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important—and you do that by being genuine and humble. You know that other people have qualities that may be better than your own. Let them express them."
Long live respect, humanity and tolerance. Long live Madiba.
Mr Etomi tweets @afi_lion_zion
The Wisdom of Mandela: A Collection of his quotes