Taking A Walk With Mr Mandela

As it happened, we planned a Soweto tour as our Company's Year End Function activity in 2013, and shortly after making our booking, Madiba passed away. It was a moving time for many in our nation, and on our visit to the Hector Pieterson Museum, I saw this book in the souvenir shop and immediately bought myself a copy.

At over 700 pages, it took me two years to read it. Mainly because I left it on my nightstand to gather dust for the first 23 months before scraping together the courage to open it. It's not your usual Holiday read, but I finally had enough time on my hands to delve into this big book.

Nelson Mandela is such an integral part of my country's history that his story is one that all South Africans must find/make time for. [Other notables include books and movies such as Cry, the Beloved Country; Miracle Rising; and The Bang Bang Club.]

Right from the first sentence, the way the book is written reads as I imagine Mr Mandela's personality to have been like. His openness about his own failings in the book is sobering and having read his confessions, I feel that there might still be hope for me.

I think it's all about waking up each morning and being prepared to face and fight against my own prejudices. To consciously resist being bound by the fear of speaking out or standing up against those who deny absolute freedom for all.

It is also filled with these gems of wisdom that contain enough power to knock the wind out of you.:

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I'm sure that some of my white counterparts may be missing out on these valuable lessons purely because they refuse to open their hearts and minds. They claim that the reason why they don't want to read 'these type of stores' is that they're tired of being made to feel guilty about the past; but what they forget, is the fact that the discrimination between races and classes did not stay behind in the history books.

Neither is South Africa the only country to have ever ignited fires of hatred - others include Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom (sometimes to near extinction), nor is racial discrimination solely based on colour differences (eg. Russians vs Ukrainians).

I urge you to join me in refusing to accept that prejudice is just the way things are. We (and here I do mean EVERYONE from all cultural backgrounds) can change. Like most things, we just need to want it hard enough.


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