Nelson Mandela

What a sad day for the world. As Barak Obama said in his tribute “We shall not see his like again” and I can do no better than to quote Bill Clinton’s tribute to Nelson Mandela:

“Nelson Mandela taught us so much about so many things. Perhaps the greatest lesson, especially for young people, is that, while bad things do happen to good people, we still have the freedom and responsibility to decide how to respond to injustice, cruelty and violence and how they will affect our spirits, hearts and minds.

In his 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela endured physical and emotional abuse, isolation and degradation. His trials purified his spirit and clarified his vision, giving him the strength to be a free man even behind bars, and to remain free of anger and hatred when he was at last released.

Mandela’s enduring legacy is that, under a crushing burden of oppression he saw through differences, discrimination and destruction to embrace our common humanity.

Thanks to his life and work, the rest of us are closer to embracing it to. “

He gave us such inspiration – one of Simon’s favourite quotes is “It always seems impossible until its done”

and mine “There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”

and finally the poem that inspired Nelson Mandela in his darkest days:

By William Ernest Henley 1849–1903 William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.
 
The world would be a better place if we could live with the inspiration of Nelson Mandela in our hearts.
Vale Nelson Mandela.
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