This is a guest post from Brian Oosthuysen on the death of Nelson Mandela. Brian is a Labour Party Gloucestershire County Councillor in Stroud and he is also a consistent campaigner for freedom, fairness and human rights both locally and internationally. Brian tweets @BrianatRodboro.
Nelson Mandela was one of those sent to prison and he suffered in many different and horrible ways during his 27 years behind bars.
In the 70s and 80s I often addressed meetings as a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in England and I always ended my talk with a look into the future, which I saw as unbearably bleak. “It will”, I would say, “end in bloodshed and the deaths of thousands of black and white people”.
And then Nelson Mandela (Madiba) was released and almost immediately transformed the political and social landscape in South Africa, and the Rainbow Nation was born.
His act of forgiveness to his former warders, his call for reconciliation and his setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee showed the people of South Africa and the world that he was a man of towering stature and amazing integrity. The constitution which his new government brought in is recognised across the world as one of the most progressive, and his stamp is clearly on it.
South Africa has many problems but the South Africa we now have is a country more at peace with itself than it has been since before 1945 when the Nationalist government came to power and Madiba is the reason for this.
Madiba once said, “No one is born hating another because of the colour 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.”
He lived out that maxim and his death leaves the world a darker, colder place.
Hamba Kahle, Madiba.