I’m listening to CNN cover the breaking news of Nelson Mandela passing away and while we’re sad to lose him, I can’t help but get a sense of relief for him.
The first time I learned about Mandela was in my Black History class in high school. We learned about his stand against apartheid and his time in prison and how he became the first Black president of South Africa and how much he was loved and celebrated for the unity he brought to his people.
And every time I saw him after that, he was always speaking some truth and wisdom that aligned precisely with my beliefs about we as a people and how are to get along together and treat one another.
Then I saw Invictus where I got an even deeper look at his character and I gained an even deeper understanding of why people loved him so much and an even deeper respect for him and the man that he was.
His story of serving 27 years in prison and then coming out to reign over a country…I had never heard anything like that. It’s true that many men come out of prison and make something of themselves, but how many can say that have ruled a nation?
Obama was right when he said, we will never see the likes of a man like Mandela in this lifetime or for many lifetimes.
It takes a special kind of something inside you to build such strength, such dignity, such spirit, such courage, such triumph, such compassion, wisdom and hope.
Former US Ambassador, Andrew Young hit the nail on the head when he said: “The more he suffered, the stronger he became spiritually.”
We’ll miss you, Madiba.