In 1981, I remember as a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin wearing my free Mandela t-shirt in an effort to support the oppressed leader in his struggle to bring equality to the masses of Black and Colored South Africans. As we protested with the hopes of encouraging our University and other American Corporations to withdraw their investments from a country that supported an apartheid system, it never occurred to me that our small efforts might have made a big difference.
Who would have thought that the then incarcerated political leader would one day be freed in spite of his unwillingness to compromise? Who would have thought that he would be like Joseph in the book of Genesis going from Robben Island Prison in 1990 to become the president of South Africa in 1994, just four years after his release from prison?
Like Jesus Christ, He taught us so much, he chose to forgive his oppressors, he chose to bless those who cursed him and he chose to do good to those who spitefully used him. His act of forgiveness has taught us that love is what heals a nation!
Thank you Madiba for the life, legacy and love you have bestowed on your nation and the world!
Dianne Jones McVay is a former Texas criminal court judge and Assistant U.S. Attorney