Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday. Mr. Mandela was really a hero of the entire world and he will be missed. I actually wrote about Nelson Mandela and South Africa back in January, 2011 and have reposted that here. Come join us October 5-12 for our South Africa Wine, Hiking, and Safari Adventure.
From a January 28, 2011 blog post about Nelson Mandela
Last night as I was driving home from an indoor soccer game I heard on the radio that Nelson Mandela was in a hospital in South Africa with what the BBC announcer said might be a “collapsed lung”. I, along with 50 million South Africans, got a pit in my stomach.
The good news this morning is that Mr. Mandela was released from the hospital. As the headline read, the nation of South Africa breathed a collective sigh of relief that the 93-year old would still be among us.
If I had to pick one hero, it would probably be Nelson Mandela. And if I had to pick one shining success story in our world, it might be South Africa.
Think about this: Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison and, when released, proceeded to take over power from the minority white government without any rancor. 27 years! Even with his long life, that is more than one of every four days he had to spend on this Earth.
Getting out of jail, Mandela worked with the existing government to slowly, mostly peacefully, transfer power. He then created what I thought was an amazing institution, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This commission heard evidence from citizens just like a jury but if the accused essentially came forth with the truth, he or she was forgiven. Wow! No hangings, no beheadings, no military trials.
Just as incredibly, this leader, who came into practically complete power over a new nation, was president from 1994 to 1999 and then left office, on his own volition. Compare that to some of the dictators and quasi-dictators on the planet. Even touristy Egypt is led by Hosni Mubarak, entrenched in power for 29 years, and probably in place until riots or worse gets rid of him.
If we had more leaders in developing countries who would 1) take power peacefully without recriminations and 2) give it up voluntarily within a reasonable time period, the world would be a better place.
Is South Africa perfect? No. But it is one of my favorite success stories in the world and I invite you to join us on our October 16-23 South Africa Hiking, Safari, and Wine Adventure.