Monday, November 30, 2015

Memories of Mandela

Recently heard a talk about Nelson Mandela by the former chaplain of his Robben Island prison. (It was actually on April 23 2015 at St Bede's School but I am only just now clearing out some notes.)

--becoming bitter and resentful, Mandela is quoted as saying, is like drinking poison yourself and hoping it will kill someone else. 

-- when Nelson Mandela left prison, he said that unless he left the hate and bitterness behind, he would remain in prison, but this time in one of his own making.

He was a very big man, who claimed his only regret was not becoming world heavyweight boxing champion. At Robben Island initially they just were given a thin mat to lie on; black prisoners had to wear shorts year-round while 'coloured' ones were given long trousers. They worked in a limestone quarry as their hard labour, then were locked up from 4:30pm to 5:30 am each night. 

He entered prison angry young man, but somewhere along the way (according to Desmond Tutu) became a Christian while inside. He was always warm in his greeting of Colin, the Chaplain, from the outset, in 1981 or so.

Colin reckoned that F W de Klerk, who replaced P W Botha as president and was thought to be equally hard-line also had an encounter with Christ and then 'Mandela and de Klerk found each other.' Mandela made de Klerk vice-president after the first election.