The following is a true story about Nelson Mandela, as told by Former US President Bill Clinton:

“That was pretty smart of you to have your jailers come to the Inauguration and all of that, but let me ask you something… didn’t you really hate them for what they did?”

Nelson replied…

“Oh, yeah, I hated them for a long time. I stayed alive on hate for 12 years. I broke rocks every day, and I stayed alive on hate. They took a lot away from me. They took me away from my wife, and it subsequently destroyed my marriage. They took me away from seeing my children grow up. They abused me mentally and physically. And one day, I realized they could take it all except my mind and my heart.”

He paused and then he continued…

“Those things I would have to give to them, and I simply decided not to give them away.”

And so I said to Nelson…

“Well, what about when you were getting out of prison? The day you got out of prison in 1990, it was Sunday morning, and I got my daughter up early in the morning, and I took her down to the kitchen, and I turned on the television, and she was just a little girl then, and I sat her up on the kitchen counter. And I said, ‘Chelsea, I want you to watch this. This is one of the most important things you’ll ever see in your life.'”

“I watched you walk down that dirt road to freedom. Now, when you were walking down there, and you realized how long you had been in their prison, didn’t you hate them then? Didn’t you feel some hatred?”

Nelson replied…

“Yes, I did a little bit. I felt that. And frankly, I was kind of afraid, too, because I hadn’t been free in so long. As I felt the anger rising up, I thought to myself, ‘Nelson, They have already had you for 27 years. And if you keep hating them, they’ll have you again.’ And I said myself, ‘I want to be free.’

And so I let it go. I let it go.”



Photo source: Walk to Freedom

Print Friendly, PDF & Email