When one speaks about revolution, change, and reformation, one remembers Nelson Mandela. A lawyer by profession, he went on to become the face of justice and equality for the black community in South Africa. He is not only the first black President of South Africa but also the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. The world applauds his staunch efforts against oppression, and he is often fondly referred to as the ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ of South Africa, because of the bouts of compassion he had for fellow beings.
Once after he was elected as the President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was having lunch along with his security guards at a restaurant. Everyone placed their orders and were chatting while waiting for their food.
At that moment, he spotted a man sitting right across his table, also waiting for his food. He told his guards to ask that man to join them for lunch. The person agreed and joined them but sat quietly the whole time. After some waiting, their food arrived, and everyone relished on the delicious meal. The man too starting eating, but his hands were trembling.
Without uttering a word, he quietly ate his food and left. Everyone could sense something fishy, so after he left, his guards guessed that he might have been ill because he was trembling so bad.
To this, Nelson Mandela shook his head and said that he knew that man. He was the jailor of the prison where Mandela was imprisoned. And that he gave him a very tough time while he was in the prison, subjugating him to all kinds of torture.
But then, things were different, as Nelson Mandela had become the President. So, when he invited him over to join them for lunch, the man thought that Mandela might seek revenge and behave the same way he did. But Mandela did no such thing. Because he believed that no matter what that person did to him, it is not in his character to harm others. He believes that the burning feeling of revenge and angst will only cause destruction, whereas, patience and tolerance, are the tools that can help develop compassion and humanity amongst us.
He says, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People 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.”