December 6, 2013

RIP Madiba

Last night we lost one of the world’s greatest icons – the father of our free and democratic society. May Mandela forever be remembered in history, he was a true legend that never stopped believing in a better future for all people.

He truly lived his life by the poem that got him through prison:

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.

“Invictus” – William Henley

When Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, someone snuck in a copy of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and had every inmate circle or underline their favourite passage. Mandela’s is hauntingly beautiful.

“Cowards die many times before their death; The Valiant never taste of death but one”

Mandela is one of those people with such a long and interesting life, first committed to solving South Africa’s problems with violence, he took a u-turn on this policy, and effectively changed the society around him. It is a far more difficult change to make, from violence to preaching non-violence and acceptance. Hence my great respect for the man, who learnt from his past mistakes. Compared to Gandhi for example (who I have great respect for), I feel his message is hence stronger due to this reason.

Because at the end of the day, forgiveness is a far more powerful tool than revenge. And I really hope that with the passing of Mandela, leaders around the world can remember that message.

Rest in Peace Madiba.


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