Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mandela, your hero?

Would you consider Nelson Mandela you hero? One of your heroes? Thousands of South Africans and many people around the world certainly do.

Queen Elizabeth awarded him the Order of Merit, the US gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the UN designated 18th July each year as "Mandela Day". Here, they call him "father of the nation". Newsweek once described him as the South African "Washington and Lincoln all rolled into one". 

Today, in SA, was one big birthday celebration. Kids around the country belted out "Happy birthday Madiba", businesses unfurled flags alongside their office buildings and thousands dedicated 67 minutes of their day to society. 

All in honour of Nelson Mandela- hero of "the Struggle" for democracy in South Africa.

But, there's a side to Nelson Mandela's heroism that doesn't grab headlines, and yet is probably the most valuable dimension for us to learn from.

Standing up against Apartheid took guts.

Forgiving those who had oppressed him took heroism. In Madiba's own words, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."

King Solomon taught: "A patient man is superior to a hero, and one who controls his impulses is more powerful than one who conquers a city".

It's unlikely that any of us will lead a revolutionary movement. Most of us will never become global icons. But, each of us is meant to be a hero. Every day, we are given the chance to dump resentment, judgement and bitterness and become conciliatory individuals. 67 minutes of social responsibility is great, but switching from kvetching and complaining to optimism, working together and building great things is heroic. 

We need to commit to become heroes. 


Unknown said...

Well said. Thank you for your inspiring words.

Mendel Trapedo

Ingrid said...