Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. They 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.”

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

“You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”

 “Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner before becoming the first black president of South Africa in 1994.  He was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC) which opposed South Africa’s white minority government and its policy of racial separation known as apartheid. 

The government outlawed the ANC in 1960.  Mandela was captured and jailed in 1962, and in 1964 he was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison.  Instead of disappearing from view, he became a prisoner of conscience, martyr, and worldwide symbol of resistance to racism.  South African President F.W. de Klerk finally lifted the ban on the ANC and released Mandela in 1990.  Mandela used his stature to help dismantle apartheid and form a new multi-racial democracy, and he and de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.  Mandela was elected the country’s president in 1994 and served until 1999. He died 5 December 2013, at the age of 95.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

“Reconciliation does not mean forgetting or trying to bury the pain of conflict, but reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.”

This picture is a needlepoint portrait from my “Persons of Interest” series.  The title is a play on the phrase because the subjects of these portraits are people who have drawn the negative attention of governments and others who felt threatened by them, as well as being of particular interest to me because of how much they inspire me to be a better person and to dedicate myself to help other people.  Portraits are approximate three feet square with 130,000 stitches and require 160 hours to complete.

Published by Robert Lang

Social Justice lawyer and mentor, nurturing calmness, kindness, and adventure. Just trying to leave something good behind.

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