Mandela: His power was in his grace and will to unify
The achievements that Nelson Mandela packed into 95 years of a life that ended peacefully last week are hard to even put into words.
Here is a man whose mission to bring human rights and equality to South Africa included 27 years of prison.
During Mandela’s imprisonment, he was known to often lunch with the prosecutor who sent him to jail.
After his imprisonment, installed into power in a post-apartheid South Africa, Mandela insisted that vengeance and violence would not be exercised against those who had perpetrated his country’s separatist existence.
Mandela’s platform before, during and after his term as South Africa’s first black president hinged on racial reconciliation and forgiveness of political enemies.
Through the sheer will of his principles, Mandela unified South Africa and blazed a trail of progress.
And he left office after 5 years when he could have stayed in power most assuredly for all of his remaining years.
His white hair and permanent smile gave him a regal bearing that matched his leadership mode – understated but boundless vision coupled with humility that resisted the arrogance of overreaching power.
Mandela leaves his country a much better place, but the world is dominated by pockets of chaotic dictatorships and human rights sinkholes. At every turn, peace and freedom are being challenged in the midst of terrorism and political turmoil and violence.
And in our own country, the need to solve problems seems to have taken a back seat to political gamesmanship.
As Mandela passed, he was deservedly lauded by the world’s leaders, including President Obama.
We are certain that, given his humility, he would want those leaders to spare the praise and simply follow his unifying examples of unifying leadership.
Whether you agreed with all of Nelson Mandela’s politics or not, you would root for more of his kind in positions of power.
There haven’t been many Nelson Mandelas.