Lessons for us
Part 2: Inspiring People
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Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve
success if they are dedicated to and passionate about
what they do.” In one simple sentence Nelson Mandela
sums up the greatest life lesson he has taught –
persistence is key. Standing up for what you believe in,
and staying focused on it, is key to your success.
Nelson Mandela was born in the Eastern Cape in South
Africa, into the Thembu Royal family. His father, Gadla
Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor.
Nelson’s birth name is
Rolohlahla but he was
nicknamed Nelson by a
teacher when he was
When Mandela was a
student at the Fort
Hare University in the
Eastern Cape, he led a strike with Oliver Tambo, which
led to his expulsion from the university. He then moved
to Johannesburg and continued his studying via
correspondence. He was determined to complete his
degree in Law, and wouldn’t give up on his cause: for all
races to live together in peace.
Even though Mandela was in prison he remained the
leader of the ANC. He did this with great success;
becoming the symbol for equal rights. Even the
opposition grudgingly acknowledged Mandela’s
persistence and leadership abilities. When F.W de
Klerk became the president of South Africa, he often
met with Mandela to discuss politics, seeking
Mandela’s advice on leadership for the future.
Nelson Mandela’s leadership skills and persistence
have not only impacted South Africans. Statues of
Mandela have been erected all over the world,
including in India and England. He will forever be
remembered for his positive attitude towards all
South Africans, forgiving nature, and lack of
bitterness whilst leading South Africa towards
democracy. He has been an inspiration to freedom
fighters the world over, and arguably the most
powerful voice for social justice ever in recent history.
As a leader of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela
followed Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent tactics, wanting to maintain
peaceful protests. In 1963 he was arrested for terrorism and treason
and sentenced to life in prison.
Whilst in prison, Mandela continued his fight for equal rights for all
South Africans; not just non-whites. He refused to compromise his
political beliefs for freedom and persisted at fighting for the end of
In 1993 Nelson Mandela was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize, along with
former president F.W de Klerk for
their efforts to end Apartheid. This
was a truly just award considering his
resistance to conformity and the
length of his prison term as a result.
Although Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison,
his persistence paid off and he was released after twenty-
seven years. At the age of 75 (four years later) he won the
first ever free and fair election in South Africa – finally
obtaining what he had spent most of his life fighting for –
equal rights for all races and a democratic state.
In 1993 Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with
former president F.W de Klerk for their efforts to end Apartheid. This was a
truly just award considering his resistance to conformity and the length of his
prison term as a result.
Words of Wisdom
· “It always seems impossible until
· “Do not judge me by my
successes, judge me by how many
times I fell down and got back
· “What counts in life is not the
mere fact that we have lived. It is
what difference we have made to
the lives of others that will
determine the significance of the
life we lead.”
· “The brave man is not he who
does not feel afraid, but he who
conquers that fear.”
· “The greatest glory in living lies not, in never
falling, but in rising every time we fall”.
· “We must use time wisely and forever realize that
the time is always ripe to do right.”
· "I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself."