Nelson Mandela's ability to forgive

The+world+remembers+Nelson+Mandela+for+his+unique+ability+to+forgive%2C+despite+the+circumstances+he+was+put+under.%0AKim+Smith+%2715

The world remembers Nelson Mandela for his unique ability to forgive, despite the circumstances he was put under. Kim Smith ’15

The world remembers Nelson Mandela for his unique ability to forgive, despite the circumstances he was put under.  Kim Smith '15
The world remembers Nelson Mandela for his unique ability to forgive, despite the circumstances he was put under.
Kim Smith ’15

Nelson Mandela is best remembered for his courage and perseverance in transforming the corrupted South African government. However, it was his humility and capacity to forgive that caused many to consider him one of the most important figures of all time.

Mandela, who died at the age of 95 December 5 2013, understood the true meaning of forgiveness. After being tortured and imprisoned for 27 years, he could easily have become a person filled with anger, bitterness, and vengefulness. But, when he gained freedom, Mandela chose a very different path.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies,” Mandela said in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.  “No one is born hating another person because of the color 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.”
According to The Washington Times, many white South Africans worried that once empowered, Mandela would turn on them and act with violence towards the people who had tortured him and treated him with disrespect for so many years. Instead, Mandela chose to unify South Africa. He encouraged forgiveness and reconciliation, rather than violence and vengeance.
Mandela became South Africa’s first black and democratically elected president. He promoted benevolence and respect among all races. According to The Tampa Tribune, he even invited one of his former white jailers to his inauguration.
“People can take everything from you. I lost my family, the chance to see my children grow up, the best years of my life. They can take everything except your mind and your heart. Those things I decided not to give away,” Mandela said.
Mandela’s death has brought forth tributes from the leaders of many nations, as they express their respect, admiration, and appreciation for all that he accomplished. They look to his life for inspiration and guidance in leading their own countries today.
“Nelson Mandela was a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice,” President Barack Obama said in a eulogy for Mandela. “We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.”
The system of apartheid fragmented South Africa and produced a culture of tyranny and violence. Mandela managed to transform the nation into a democratic country where all citizens have the right to speak, travel, vote, and live their lives as they please. Throughout his lifetime, Mandela received more than 250 awards, including the Noble Peace Prize.
Nelson Mandela’s death reminds the world of the importance of equality and the power of forgiveness. His moral integrity and compassion continues to serve as an inspiration. 
– Kim Smith, Content Editor