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Forgiveness allows both victim and perpetrator to start again, and the way that Mandela bettered himself through adversity serves as an object lesson to us all: if he can walk out of 27 years in jail without anger or the desire for retribution, we too can rise above our petty problems and disputes.Brilliantly, Mandela set himself up to embody the nation – and then, as he saw his effect, to allow himself to be turned into a symbol for that best of human impulses: the desire to make things better. As he was in chains, so were we; as he managed to negotiate himself into freedom, so could we; as he forgave his oppressors and his adversaries, so must we.He is a peak of moral authority, rising above the soulless wasteland of the 20th century; he is a universal symbol for goodness and wisdom, for the ability to change, and the power of reconciliation.In person, he was not notably affectionate, but his image beams a very particular sensation: you just look at him and you feel held, hugged.We are richly blessed that the latter happened with Mandela." But to view Mandela's prison experience solely through the prism of revelation is to misunderstand his life.
– he did succeed in using it as both a political laboratory and a place of profound introspection.Speaking of the universal experience of suffering and hatred as an "apartheid of the heart", Clinton said that the world adulated Mandela because it sought "wisdom from the power of his example to do whatever we can, however we can, wherever we can, to take the apartheid out of our own and others' hearts".Second chances Just as apartheid became a global semaphore for evil, so too did Mandela come to symbolise the power of good.A leader's claim that his subjects are his children can be the very definition of tyranny, but what made Mandela so singular a leader of modern times is the way he re-appropriated such clichés.
He inhabited his paternity in such a way that it seemed fresh and emancipatory even as it comforted in the way it recalled more traditional understandings of what a leader should be.He was sensitised by his own sense of guilt about [the] family and friends he had used during his political career." Mandela, writes Sampson, was "racked by remorse" about his absence as a husband and a father.