03 January 2010

The Spirit of Nelson Mandela

Sunday 3rd January 2010

Okay so I am scraping the bottom of the barrel but I have come up with the Jewel of the world. This is the 3rd day of the year and I have to find another positive thing to say about living in South Africa, which I am finding to be a daunting task. However as this project is my ONE and ONLY New Year's resolution, I will do everything in my power to stick to it, reminding myself that self discipline and commitment are great tools for building character.

Today is Sunday – I want to focus on a spiritual aspect, and immediately I think of Nelson Mandela, the greatest man that ever lived in my lifetime. The first time I heard the name Nelson Mandela was in 1990 just before he was released from prison. I followed his release in the news and then read his book, Walk to Freedom, and was overwhelmed by such confusing feelings as admiration, fear, trepidation, especially as a white South African woman who grew up in Pretoria in the 60s and 70s.

I went to see Invictus, the movie, in Durban on vacation last week a non-beach, rainy day, with a friend. This hugely inspirational movie contributed to my decision to undertake this project of finding 365 positives for living in South Africa. If Nelson Mandela can spend 26 years of his life in prison and come out with such a magnanimous spirit, creating the space for the miracle of a peaceful transition to take place, I must also do something, anything, no matter how small, to help his dream survive.

The movie is based on the iconic moment when one man, has the character and foresight to save the country from bloodshed and destruction by appearing to millions in and out of SA, in support of the Springbok National Rugby Team, the symbol of pride and joy of the people who had jailed him. When Nelson Mandela appears in the distinctive green and gold jersey, including the cap with the Springbok logo, raising the William Webb Ellis trophy after they defeated New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup Final, it was more than a seemingly simple act of reconciliation, more than a demonstration of his unifying leadership through the power of sport. At the a pivotal moment in SAs long struggle to a democratic, unified country, this was the embodiment of a fully developed human being – a man who understood the bondage of toxic emotions such as revenge, hate, jealousy, anger, greed. A man who was able to abandon his mental shackles and chains and free his spirit – such a man can create miracles around him, a purer life, a larger life, a truly happy life.

This movie captures simply the height of the human spirit in the person of Nelson Mandela which is more, much more, than the spirit of ubuntu and social justice. It is a true example of what is possible in each and every one of us if we remove the layers of negativity and pessimism - free ourselves from their bondage of fear and hate, creating the reality of abundance.

The Greeks said that character is destiny, and no better example of this than Nelson Mandela. Every time I hear some politician or ‘wannabee’ politician puffing himself or herself up with self importance and unquenchable greed, I will not allow their words to poison my soul; instead I will bring to mind the spirit of Nelson Mandela. I will keep asking ‘What can I do for my country?’ rather than ‘What can my country do for me?’. I will 'become the change I want to see'.

Wow - I feel more powerful already..... thank you Nelson Mandela!

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