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Updated on December 6, 2013

How could anyone treat this lady poorly because of the color of her skin.

I can tell you that baby is a no good, but that lady is an angel.
I can tell you that baby is a no good, but that lady is an angel. | Source

A life made better 6,000 miles away and black and white different. I love Nelson Mandela.

We hail from all parts known and unknown. But Nelson Mandela knew me. Nelson Mandela is what I need to be. Nelson Mandela is in my heart and soul if I give it a good try. Dignity and respect may not be in me but Nelson Mandela put it there. Along with something more important.

I grew up with the man in prison. I reckon that in truth that means I grew up in prison if you get my point.

There is no point of good to say that “I met the man” not in the normal sense. But I knew him and somehow he knew me.

What could this guy have in common with Mandela?

Mandela even influenced this dude.
Mandela even influenced this dude. | Source

The horrible atmosphere of institutionalized oppression.

Back in something like 1975. We went down to assess. Our other stop was the “Belgium Congo”. We photographed the rein of a Ngouabi. I am sickened to this day to think of it.

But Mandela’s South Africa was even more scary and echoed silence of death. It was claustrophobic of hate and fear. White as I am I felt dirty to be there, even if proper in cause. The horrors seen in the Congo were savage and macabre but the horrors seen in South Africa were clean and orderly and institutionalized. I must say I got the same feelings there as I did in visiting Auschwitz concentration camp in Germany in 1972.

There was just a pall of oppression that hung filthy in the air like a sauna of car exhaust, cutting off a clean breathe of air. By that time there were already good reads and films depicting the absolute horrors of the racial divide in the US. We had our Dr, Reverend Martin Luther King jr. And we had a free press to lay clear the atrocities of racial inequality.

That oppression in South Africa was palpable. It was present in every breath.

Impossible? I do not think so!

Bringing the light to a divided world.

Now I hope I have painted a bad picture, one that would depress any ordinary man. And it should be noted we did not mention one particular heinous act. However we know there were so many. And we know of a man imprisoned for 25+ years and how he suffered.

In that oppression rose and grew and blossomed a flower of life and love and honor and devotion and compassion and huge empathy and sympathy. This flower of life did more than suffer the ravages of hate and still remained beautiful both inside and out. In the most impossible of situations he was a light and a beacon for all others.

Here is an example of just how powerful that light and beacon were during that time. A boy in a mountain community in the American Southwest in a remote town where in fact minorities outnumbered whites was drawn to his flame. As far apart on this planet as two can get. In a time before one could even telephone direct from one place to the other. The man’s light shown bright enough that even that boy and his school mates saw it and were moved by it. Now that is one powerful light.

So we leave for pundits and historians and others to lay out the life of a great man. This writer is in his mid-fifties and can speak to a generation and more moved and empowered by Mandela. Here is another example of his power. My mom and I never once agreed completely on a single politician either domestic or abroad. We were about 40 years different in age. She had lived through the depression and WWII. She was a member of that Great Generation and I was near the last of the baby boomers. But on this man we agreed wholeheartedly that he was great. Great above measure. So a full world away and apart this one beacon of light even brought a mother and son closer together.

What is impossible?

Is there something that you should do that you cannot?

See results

Bringing it home.

Today we see a group of workers demanding more money for their work. There is no offer to work in any way better with the increase of pay they demand. Without addressing their contentions we see protestors and demonstrations and walk outs and emotionally charged debate. And this is well and good. We must support people’s rights to demand a better life. Now just say we went and imprisoned all those protestors. And we took away their right to vote or even hold a job at all. And we did all that because of the color of their skin. And we left one young man in the prison for twenty five years because he was a leader of his people.

And then that man went on to become president of our country. What would we say was miraculous about that? Would we say the man was a miracle? Would we say the country was a miracle? Would we say the whole thing was a miracle? Quickly we see that truly one miraculous man creates miracles all around him. That is the nature of Mandela.

Never to far to reach


For sure courage is not the absence of fear.

Somewhere around the time that Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa we had a great president here in the United States. He in fact was assassinated in office. One has to assume that the assassination of a president is an ultimate protest to his policies. But before JFK was murdered he spoke some interesting words that should be known by all Americans. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” (no I am not certain that is exact).

So in Mandela we see a man who actually fully lived up to this ideal. It is a good and noble concept but seemingly hard to really grasp. And yet here was a man that by his life did indeed show us that the impossible is only impossible until you do it.

Some concluding thoughts about our truth.

We are just individuals. Each one of us is seemingly not that important. Many thousands of us are in jail. Others should be. And we take and look at those there as though they are less than us. Most of us outside do not even bother to look inside prisons. And yet each individual there is an individual and any given one might be there wrongfully for whatever reason. Just one, just one, just one may be the next president of our country. This is worthy to meditate upon. This is truth. And the reason it is truth is because of Nelson Mandela.

So when great men break impossible barriers they just do not do it for themselves. That spark and motivation required of us is within us already. With Mandela it is already kindled and set and ready to burn brightly. You just need to find out who you need to do the impossible for and then just do it. Let us learn and burn for truth.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a rich and powerful comment DDE. Thank you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      As a South African I know so much about this wonderful man and to think of how much has changed over the years and what more will be no one knows. I grew up during he apartheid time and it was tough living in a place of racism South Africa is a beautiful country but now I am far from home and enjoying my new life still do miss my place of birth.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for the visit and the share Pro-Hubber. He will remain a focus for many to help us do better.

    • Pro-Hubber profile image


      4 years ago from Florida

      Manda was a very giant man. His death is a great loss for the whole humanity. Specially people of the African continent. Thank you for the well written and informative hub

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much friend.

    • vespawoolf profile image


      4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I really enjoy the way you wrote this article...very inspirational. Mandela certainly was loved around the world for his constributions to humanity, esp. in South Africa. Thank you for sharing!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      MsDora we shall count it very fortunate that we were alive when he was. Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      "Here was a man that by his life did indeed show us that the impossible is only impossible until you do it." Well said, Eric!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harishprasad --- that is just plain beautiful. Thank you

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      4 years ago from New Delhi , India

      Nelson Mandela is a synonym of equality and humanity. He is determination , a determination that takes rest only when it wins. He is non-violence that embraces all with love yet is a sword to evil. Mandela is courage that never diminishes. Eric, you have portrayed a true picture of this legend who rules the hearts of billions of people spread all over the globe. Peace be upon this great and endearing soul.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Where we see these good and noble things I will often see him.

      Thank you tillsontitan

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan, I think you are right and I agree that both these men are extraordinary.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      A wonderful tribute Eric. We all need to examine our conscience and see how, in what tiny little way, we could attempt to be a little bit like this marvelous beacon of faith, hope, and love.

      Voted up, useful,and interesting. I hope he does live on in us.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What a nice gesture to give tribute to this extraordinary man, called Nelson Mandela in the form of a hub! Men like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela do not die. They live in the heart of millions forever, to inspire us.

      Very well done hub! Thanks! Voted up!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Bill. In this case I think he lives on inside of us.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Although any death is tragic in this world of seven billion, this death was a loss for us all. The man was a giant among midgets, and we sorely need someone to take his place. Thank you for this tribute.


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