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Mandela a name synonymous with justice, equality

Saturday, December 7, 2013

To most of the world, Nelson Mandela was the freedom fighter who remapped the apartheid regime of South Africa and reconstituted the nation into an exemplar of peaceful coexistence. In some extremist quarters, he is still labelled a communist terrorist. 


It is one of the most remarkable things about the long, strange road that Nelson Mandela walked that, under the laws and imperialist perspectives of South Africa that he grew up in, that was a fair characterisation of his political position as he came of age. For that young Nelson Mandela, his choices under apartheid were few. He could suffer, or he could suffer and resist. How he chose to do so, and how he evolved his approach, will remain the domain of historians, sociologists, and political theorists for decades to come.


At each step of his life, from young protester, to jailed political dissident, to an emergent force for seemingly impossible change, Mr Mandela gave an object lesson in not just the power of an indomitable will, but a capacity to meet his circumstances with respect, love and understanding.


He never mistook anti-colonialism for hatred or resistance for revenge. Both would have been understandable responses to the 27 years he spent imprisoned for his beliefs, but neither characterised his approach to governing and then inspiring the people of South Africa, heedless of their race. That capacity to inspire and his willingness to sacrifice were the most admirable hallmarks of Nelson Mandela’s life.


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