To the Editor:
Sound the bells, fly world flags at half mast for a great world leader, Nelson Mandela.
President Mandela’s leadership, commitment to reconciliation and his moral compass changed South Africa and the world.
Mandela was introduced to me as a young woman fighting for civil rights in my country, America. The apartheid in South Africa mirrored the civil rights fight black Americans were and are still fighting. In 1974 Arthur Ashe, an American tennis star, used his fame to bring attention to America’s and Britain’s reluctance to join the world in financial sanctions against the South African government.
I believe divine intervention alongside millions of people around the world speaking truth to power and the relentless call for change in South Africa ended apartheid and freed Nelson Mandela.
He was released from prison in 1990 and became the first black president of South Africa in 1994.
How could a man imprisoned for 27 years breaking rock become the leader of the country who had treated him and 85 percent of South Africans so brutally?
Could I be so magnanimous to my oppressor? I don’t know but I have had the opportunity to witness Nelson Mandela show me how it is done. His call and actions for reconciliation and forgiveness between all South Africans touched me deeply.
Nelson Mandela died but the largesse of his humility, dignity, and willingness to unite his country no matter his pain and loss still inspires me.
Nelson Mandela, may you rest in peace.
Patricia Muldrow Roberts