NELSON MANDELA – NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE
Nobel Prize: The President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela (born 1918) was granted the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for his resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies and for his efforts to establish nonracial democracy in South Africa. Mandela was tried for high treason in December 1956, he was jailed for five years in November 1962, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 12, 1964. Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, after 27 years of imprisonment.
Nationality: South African
Education: Law Degree, University of Witwatersrand, 1942; University College of Fort Hare, South Africa
Occupation: President of South Africa, 1994-99 (elected in South Africa’s first all-race elections, 1994)
1. In his speech at the Zionist Christian Church Easter Conference (Moria, 3 April 1994) Nelson Mandela stated:
“We bow our heads in worship on this day and give thanks to the Almighty for the bounty He has bestowed upon us over the past year. We raise our voices in holy gladness to celebrate the victory of the risen Christ over the terrible forces of death.
Easter is a joyful festival! It is a celebration because it is indeed a festival of hope!
Easter marks the renewal of life! The triumph of the light of truth over the darkness of falsehood!
Easter is a festival of human solidarity, because it celebrates the fulfilment of the Good News!
The Good News borne by our risen Messiah who chose not one race, who chose not one country, who chose not one language, who chose not one tribe, who chose all of humankind!
Each Easter marks the rebirth of our faith. It marks the victory of our risen Saviour over the torture of the cross and the grave.
Our Messiah, who came to us in the form of a mortal man, but who by his suffering and crucifixion attained immortality.
Our Messiah, born like an outcast in a stable, and executed like criminal on the cross.
Our Messiah, whose life bears testimony to the truth that there is no shame in poverty: Those who should be ashamed are they who impoverish others.
Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being persecuted: Those who should be ashamed are they who persecute others.
Whose life proclaims the truth that there is no shame in being conquered: Those who should be ashamed are they who conquer others.
Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being dispossessed: Those who should be ashamed are they who dispossess others.
Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being oppressed: Those who should be ashamed are they who oppress others.” (Mandela 1994).
2. “Why is it that in this day and age, human beings still butcher one another simply because they dared to belong to different religions, to speak different tongues, or belong to different races?
Are human beings inherently evil?
What infuses individuals with the ego and ambition to so clamour for power that genocide assumes the mantle of means that justify coveted ends?
These are difficult questions, which, if wrongly examined can lead one to lose faith in fellow human beings. And there is where we would go wrong.
Firstly, because to lose faith in fellow humans is, as the Archbishop would correctly point out, to lose faith in God and in the purpose of life itself.
Secondly, it is erroneous to attribute to the human character a universal trait it does not possess – that of being either inherently evil or inherently humane.
I would venture to say that there is something inherently good in all human beings, deriving from, among other things, the attribute of social consciousness that we all possess. And, yes, there is also something inherently bad in all of us, flesh and blood as we are, with the attendant desire to perpetuate and pamper the self.
From this premise arises the challenge to order our lives and mould our mores in such a way that the good in all of us takes precedence. In other words, we are not passive and hapless souls waiting for manna or the plague from on high. All of us have a role to play in shaping society.” (Mandela 1994b).
3. In another speech at the Zionist Christian Church Easter Conference (Moria, 20 April 1992) Nelson Mandela said:
“May Peace be with you!
We have joined you this Easter in an act of solidarity, and in an act of worship. We have come, like all the other pilgrims, to join in an act of renewal and rededication. The festival of Easter, which is so closely linked with the festival of the Passover, marks the rebirth of the resurrected Messiah,
who without arms,
without police and covert special forces,
without hit squads or bands of vigilantes,
overcame the mightiest state during his time.
This great festival of rejoicing marks the victory of the forces of life over death, of hope over despair.
We pray with you for the blessings of peace! We pray with you for the blessings of love! We pray with you for the blessings of freedom!” (Mandela 1992; see also Mandela 2003, 332).
4. “Yes! We affirm it and we shall proclaim it from the mountaintops, that all people – be they black or white, be they brown or yellow, be they rich or poor, be they wise or fools, are created in the image of the Creator and are his children!
Those who dare to cast out from the human family people of a darker hue with their racism!
Those who exclude from the sight of God’s grace, people who profess another faith with their religious intolerance!
Those who wish to keep their fellow countrymen away from God’s bounty with forced removals!
Those who have driven away from the altar of God people whom He has chosen to make different, commit an ugly sin! The sin called APARTHEID.” (Mandela 1992; see also Mandela 2003, 332).