Remembering Nelson Mandela

1:34 PM

When I was 14 years old, I was tasked to write an editorial for our school paper in highschool. This was such an honor for me because I knew I had the chance to write something that would matter. With the push of a friend who believed in my capabilities, I decided to write a piece about leadership, citing different people who exemplified such qualities.


I asked my father for suggestions on who to feature on this piece, and he gave me the name NELSON MANDELA.




I have never heard of this man prior to my father's mention of his name. When I asked him what about Nelson Mandela, he told me to research about him and figure it all out on my own. 

When I read up on Nelson Mandela, my heart broke with my newfound enlightenment. I was young ignorant and closeminded back then. Being the immature 14 year old I was, I knew nothing about compassion, humanity, love and equality. I knew nothing about issues like apartheid, oppression, poverty and racism. I learned what it meant to see another human being as an equal, to not define people by their race, color or background, but to see them as humans just like any of us. This was an issue that I normally ignored because I did not know what it meant, with society and media's blatant expositions that showed offensive acts people accept as something normal or right or even natural. When the truth is it is not normal or natural for a person to look at another human being as inferior or  to think less of them. It is not natural to treat people in inhuman ways. It is not natural at all to live in a world where people suffer everyday.

When I found out about Nelson Mandela's death, I was actually surprised with how much I was affected by the news. Maybe because I got carried away by the hype on it, or maybe more because I just felt so much connection to this man who has contributed so much to my own ideals and principles about life.

So in honor of his passing, I have compiled my favorite Nelson Mandela quotes. 

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another."
"If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness."
"Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings."
"I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days."
"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."

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela. I will always be grateful for having shared the same lifetime with you. Thank you so much for making the world a better place.



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