“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

–Nelson Mandela, Speaking on the

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Pretoria, 1997

 

Young Mandela on the roof of Kholvad

House in 1953.

 

December 5 marks the death anniversary of Nelson Mandela, the first black South African President. Affectionately known as Madiba amongst his peers, Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, on July 1918. While many believe that Mandela borrows heavily from Gandhian philosophy of non-violence, the reality is that he had his own worldview. Mandela’s worldview was defined by the philosophy of forgiveness that ultimately leads to establishment of pluralism in any society.

His own words reflect his worldview as he asserted, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Living true to his words he never answered racism with racism. His life is an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived; and who are opposed to oppression and deprivation. The most important moral lesson that one learns from the life of Mandela is refusing to mimic one’s oppressor.

The present time, which can arguably be called as age of extremes where the likes of Trump are ascending to power trying to ignite the flames of xenophobia, a revisit to Mandela’s life is what is needed the most.