The late former South African President Nelson Mandela has left this dimension but the spiritual, political, economic, educational and psychological impact he had on South Africa and the globe is a study in humanity.
He was sent here to liberate a nation and a world and inspire us to believe that we can be greater than we were yesterday. Mandela was truly an angel, because his heart was pure, and he lived each day with a smile on his face.
He has been to the mountaintop and the 27 years he spent in prison confined only his physical body. His mind and spirit belonged to the ages and the millions of people he inspired. He transformed the world as the greatest shepherd of peace and he consistently radiated love.
The world will never understand the ruthless brutality that Mandela and his nation endured from a small group of people who stole the resources and government apparatus from the indigenous people of the land. They were supported by the most powerful countries in the world and the United States listed Mandela as a global terrorist until 2008.
There is a fundamental insanity that exists within the world powers and many times they cannot distinguish right from wrong. Many of these governments believe that their destiny is to rule the world and never answer for their actions. But Mandela was a freedom fighter first, then a statesman.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” Mandela said.
It was a happy coincidence that Mandela became the first black president of South Africa and he lived to see Barack Obama become the first black president of America. To many in America it was a miracle to have a black president. In South Africa it was also a miracle for Mandela to gain his freedom from prison and also to become the president of the country.
“The day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when guided by their hopes rather than their fears. Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela,” President Barack Obama said.
Many times in the political battles in Washington, everyone wonders how Obama can be so patient and cool. But now I understand that his example, mentor and guide was also his moral compass. Mandela endured greater suffering and cruelty for four decades that Obama could not even fathom, yet he was able to smile at his enemies, once he became their leader.
Mandela has taught our president that greatness is a result of the domination of the brain over emotions. I am sure there are times when Obama gets angry with the Republicans and he wants to curse them out but, instead, he tells a good joke and operates from a position of grace.
There are many parallels between the two men and each one overcame great challenges but Mandela came first. Mandela was the father to the world and Obama is the son to the world. Both men are a light and inspiration to the world and Mandela has passed the torch to Obama.
*Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org