“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
– Nelson Mandela
I don’t know a whole lot about Nelson Mandela, but I do know he was an extraordinary leader and a humble man. What stands out most to me is that he lived out the biblical rule, “love your enemies.” During his 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela found kindness and good will toward the prison guards brought better conditions in prison. He continued showing kindness toward his enemies after his release in 1990, working to unite and heal his country.
Many say that a turning point in uniting South Africa came at the World Cup Rugby Final in Johannesburg in 1995. Nelson Mandela came to support the Springboks, the national team, wearing a Springbok jersey. The crowd, almost all white South Africans, chanted “Nelson, Nelson, Nelson” in a show of their support.
It’s not good to get our history from popular culture, but you may want to check out the 2009 movie Invictus , directed by Clint Eastwood and staring Matt Damon, with Morgan Freeman as Mandella. It presents the story of the Springboks rise to the 1995 Rugby World Cup and Mandela’s support. Pop culture may not get all the facts right, but movies such as Invictus serve both to inspire us and to humanize great men like Nelson Mandela.
Released from prison at the age of 71, it seemed right in the eyes of the Lord to give Mandela another 24 years to impact South Africa and the world.
God Bless You Nelson Mandela.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
– Nelson Mandela