Friday, December 6, 2013

Quotes From Long Walk to Freedom

I read Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela about 12 years ago, and I compiled this list of quotations from the book. From time to time, in my own moments of needing courage, comfort and reassurance, I will return to them and read them again. I would like to share them with you.

There is little favorable to be said about poverty, but it was often an incubator of true friendship……………..Yet, poverty often brings out the true generosity in others.
—Nelson Mandela,  Long Walk to Freedom

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
—Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

I learned that to humiliate another person is to make him suffer an unnecessarily cruel fate. Even as a boy, I defeated my opponents without dishonoring them.
—Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

I also learned that to dishonor or neglect one’s ancestors would bring ill-fortune and failure in life. —Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

The answer, as far as the ANC [African National Congress] was concerned, was that we could not remain indifferent even when we were shut out of the process. We were excluded, but not unaffected: the defeat of the National Party [Pro Apartheid] would be in our interest and that of all Africans.
—Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Everyone who wanted to speak did so. It was democracy in its purest form. There may have been a hierarchy of importance among the speakers, but everyone was heard, chief and subject, warrior and medicine man, shopkeeper and farmer, landowner and laborer. People spoke without interruption and the meetings lasted for many hours. The foundation of self-government was that all men were free to voice their opinions and equal in their value as citizens.
—Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Only mass education, he used to say, would free my people, arguing that an educated man could not be oppressed because he could think for himself. He told me over and over again that becoming a successful attorney and thereby a model of achievement for my people was the most worthwhile path I could follow.
—Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Friday, June 14, 2013

Streaming from the Divine

Each time a child is born, the world is created for the first time is a thought that struck me a while ago, while looking at my newborn niece. My brother had called at about 2:00 a.m. as he and his wife set off for the hospital; I had bundled my sleeping children into the car and gone to meet them there, arriving from opposite ends of town. We were allowed to see the baby barely minutes after she was delivered, still covered with vernix caseosa and the umbilical cord clamped. My sister-in-law had been shown the baby, of course, but she hadn’t had the chance to examine every part of her yet, counting her fingers and toes to make sure they were all there. The doctor and nurses were still with her, but she anxiously shouted across to me, “Sister Kehinde, does she have lots of hair?”

Does she have lots of hair? Why would that be the most important thing you want to know about your newborn baby? I wondered, but she had just pushed a big baby out of her, and she was entitled to her anxiety and what she did with it. I reassured her that the baby had lots of hair on her head, and she lay back down.

My children suggested that she looked like one parent or the other as we stared at this new arrival from heaven.

Each time a child is born, the world is created for the first time, and it is not only because the child will come to see the world in her own unique way, which would be hers and hers only though there are zillions of people in the world, and so she would be one in a zillion, and this unique way of hers will be based on the combination of her temperament and how it will react with her environment of her home and parents first and then of her larger world, depending on where that is. But also because she has brought to this world great treasures which have never before been seen on earth, and which will never be seen again, and it is hers and hers alone, and I think that this is the question we are all called to answer.