By David Crane, Ode Magazine
Last week we celebrated living legend Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Looking back on his 93 years, here are 11 lessons (from many) that I would like to share from his legacy, which would help us make a small but positive mark in our society.
1. Have determination in fighting for the right thing. Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid for more than 50 years — from 1943 when he joined ANC to 1994 when South Africa became independent and he became president. Of these years, 27 were in prison.
2. Never sell out on your beliefs. While still serving in prison, Mandela had repeated offers from the apartheid regime to accept release for independence in a small portion of South Africa called the Transkei, from where he hailed. He simply turned them all down.
3. Be ready to change your tactics. In 1960 Nelson Mandela together with other leaders set up the military wing of ANC. After being released from prison in 1990, Mandela would eventually renounce all armed tactics and once again resort to peaceful negotiations.
4. Know the facts. Mandela was an astute lawyer and during his incarceration, his jailers in the 1980s repeatedly attempted to get him to renounce militarism; however he remained adamant in his belief that prisoners cannot enter into contracts – only free men can negotiate.
5. Admit mistakes. In interviews later in life, Mandela admitted that the ANC had committed some human rights abuses and even criticized anyone who attempted to deny it.
6. Reconcile with enemies. Nelson Mandela worked on the setting up the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.