Mandela’s way is an inspiring book written by Richard Stengel with a forward by Nelson Mandela himself. This book explains 15 important life lessons of Mandela.
After Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela was the ideal leader, inspiration and the role model the world witnessed. One cannot expect such an exemplary figure to live in this century. He was almost a saint towards the latter part of his life though he had a rebellious youth. From a man who was made to suffer in a small cell in a prison, away from his loved ones, the last thing one can expect is a forgiving character to leave that prison cell. But he shelved his hatred in the prison cell when he left it at his ripe old age to free his people and stun the world. Such a long prison sentence did not make him a vindictive character.
The editor of Time magazine, Richard Stengel, has dug into Mandela’s life to unearth 15 valuable life lessons out of the latter’s life. The author was also with Mandela when the latter was writing his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom” and traveled extensively with him for three years. This was the time Mandela aligned South Africa towards its first democratic election which brought him into the presidency, and, for which he did not look forward to a second term at a time he was the most popular candidate for the job. The humility of this great soul did not allow him to be greedy for such a high position as he decided that his duty was only to take his country out of apartheid to a democracy. This is one of the main reasons why people all over the world idolize him as an all-time great.
For Stengel, Mandela was the relentless person who knew how to sell a contradiction and come to a compromise when he had got the upper hand in many a moment after becoming a world hero. But he was so humble that he thought of the one at the receiving end to be comfortable first. That is how “the grandfather of South Africa” molded into. His long journey from the protégé of a tribal king as a child, to a freedom fighter at his youth, having to spend a twenty-seven-year imprisonment, to the post of president of his fatherland at his old age and to his remarriage at the age of eighty are magnificent events to learn from.
Chances are that you will hardly ever come across such a multifaceted character of this magnitude. So, do not think twice on investing on this excellent book. I am yet to read the “Long Walk to Freedom” of his, but ensure you that this piece can still be considered the next best.
I drew this picture of Mandela when I was a schoolboy in 1980’s and he, a prisoner. I had no way of sending it to him. I again found the same drawing when he was the ex-president and sent this along with a covering letter to the then president Thabo Mbeki requesting his office to send the picture to the person I intended. But, to my dismay, the letter was returned to me in a couple of weeks.
I had sent similar letters with the pictures I drew of them to people like Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson earlier and all of them were replied by those people even though I had addressed the letters with only the name of the recipient and the country. But in Mandela’s case, it did not work. Who knows, if it went to Mandela, I may have had an opportunity to have a cup of coffee with him?
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