“ I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
– Nelson Mandela
Mandela’s approach to the apartheid was very level-headed. He not only fought against white domination, but also curbed the pendulum from swinging towards black domination. Unlike the rampant radicalism prevalent throughout history, Mandela’s approach was truly refreshing and impartial as he stayed true to his dream of an equal, democratic society.
Mandela was inspired by Gandhi’s non-violent approach to British colonialism in India. He adopted this approach as well. But unlike Gandhi, Mandela fought fire with fire when left with no other recourse. When the government declared the ANC( African National Congress) as illegal and began resorting to violence, Mandela initiated an armed resistance movement against the oppression.
Mandela’s influence spread across the globe like wildfire. Inspired by his beliefs and principles, places around the globe have named streets, bridges, restaurants etc as an ode to Mandela’s journey. There is a tree named after Mandela in Colombia, an orchid named after him in Singapore, a road in Delhi named ‘The Nelson Mandela Road’, even a sea-slug named ‘ Mandelia Micocornata’ by marine biologists and the list goes on.
Mandela’s birth name was Rolihlahla, the prefix Nelson was given to him by his primary teacher. Ironically, Rolihlahla means ‘troublemaker”.
Interestingly, there has been some confusion between Nelson Mandela and the renowned actor Morgan Freeman. This could be attributed to the fact that the actor played Mandela in the movie, ‘invictus’ or because the two really do bear a striking resemblance!! This was the case when a cloth merchant in India, put up a huge billboard paying tribute to Nelson Mandela but with the photograph of Morgan Freeman.
Mandela was banned from leaving the country, but did so by adopting a fake identity and name, of a man called David Motsamayi.
Lastly, during Mandela’s imprisonment of 27 years, he was treated with no dignity and respect. Being a black man in prison, he was denied even the most basic human rights and subject to atrocities. There were reports about Mandela and his fellow inmates buried upto their necks by the prison guards and being urinated on. Despite this, Mandela managed to continue his activism and penned down his autobiography through the confines of prison.