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Yvan Khactus
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Published on 6/22/2013
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The recent news have brought forward the inspiring figure of Nelson Mandela and announced his hospitalization in a critical condition.The former President and Nobel Prize, is suffering from recurring lung infection problems. While in prison for his political involvement -he was imprisoned for 27 years-, he contracted that infectious ailment.  The latest news reported an improvement though he still has  to remain hospitalized. This past week end, the South African Authorites announced he  is still in critical condition.  We all hope that this fighter will overcome this condition once again.
Here come to my mind these words of Mandela from his book: "Long Walk To Freedom", and I quote:
"I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There   were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death."
Mandela is  also known under the traditional Xhosa name of "Madiba", referring to a noble ancestor, being thus a mark of respect when used to call him.

Born in 1918 in the region of Transkei, the young Mandela studied law and founded the first law office ruled by black Africans, in his country.
Revolted against the system of apartheid and racial discrimination, he joined the African National Congress (ANC) and became one of the top leading figure of that party. He remarkably influenced the creation of its Youth League one of the solid spearhead of the fight against the  system of apartheid in force in South africa, at that time.

One of the unacceptable consequences of this racial policy was the implementation of the "Pass Law Act" which obliged Black people to carry their pass all the time, in their own native land as though they were foreigners traveling abroad.
The african political parties, African National Congress (ANC)  being at the top front along with the Pan African Congress (PAC) organized several peaceful protest events. On the 21 March 1960, during the Sharpeville demonstration, the police attacked, opened fire against the demonstrators, killed 60 and wounded hundreds of them, end result of apartheid, racial discrimination and hatred.
In his above mentioned book Nelson Mandela writes about hatred: 

" 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".

As a consequence of these demonstrations Mandela was judged for treason, sentenced for life, put in jail (1964) in Robben Island.  He remained imprisoned two decades and half, 27 years in total.
While being in jail, he refused compromise and kept faithfully his line of fight against the apartheid ruling system.

He was released by President Frederick de Klerk, on February the 11th 1990.
Having agreed to a non-violent transition  toward a  democratic majority rule, Mandela and F. de Klerk  won and shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
We can observe that Mandela made a sound appreciation of the objective political reality of his country and became more realistic. A proof of it can be found in the following quote of his:

"One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”

A few months later, in 1994, Mandela was elected as President of the Republic of South Africa. He served for one single mandate and retired from political life, leaving thus a moral and political lesson to those - unfortunately too many - who crave for a lifelong tenure.

Let us conclude here by this last  piece of advice from Nelson Mandela that I want to dedicate to all readers and more specifically to leaders of all walk of life:

"As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself... Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

 Warmest regards,

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