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Reflections on Nelson Mandela

In the 1980s I marched, not in South Africa, but in New York City of all places,  against apartheid. It was the anniversary of the Sharpeville township massacre in South Africa and we marched despite the gloomy weather in NYC. I marched because of the blatant and brutal violence I witnessed perpetrated upon Nelson Mandela's people in South Africa. I marched because the Boers kept Mandela in jail. I marched because I was angry.
In 1990 - the year of my first son's birth and the freeing of Nelson Mandela from prison, I was consumed by great joy, fulfillment, happiness and a renewed sense of worth.
Four years later when Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, I jumped and cried "Hallelujah it's payback time...an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
But revenge and equaling the score were not the tenets of Nelson Mandela.  His statesmanship, his grace, his forgiveness, his tolerance, his selflessness and his Africanism came to fore as he became the first Black President of the Republic of South Africa.
On the passing of this great God-like humble being, I will remember and cherish his strong traits that I have found lacking within myself - forgiveness and tolerance. Thanks for being my hero Rolihlahla Mandela. May the kindness and mercy of the Almighty God bless and keep you. May God grant you a special place in the heavens - for if not you, no man is deserving of such. May God grant courage and strength to all your children of the World from this day forward. Amen!