What do you think of Mandela's idea that it is necessary to free both the oppressor and the oppressed? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Nelson Mandela's idea shows the depth of his character.  It is a very unselfish idea, one that takes quite seriously the idea that all people are valuable.

In explaining this idea, Mandela said,

A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.

What he is saying is that the white people of South Africa were hurt by apartheid just as non-white people were. The whites were not actually imprisoned or deprived of rights, but they were imprisoned in their own minds and souls.

I think it is amazing that a man who was treated the way Mandela was would think in this way.  I would think that most of us, in his situation, would not really care about the spiritual health of the people who had abused us.  We would be indifferent at best and we might even want bad things to come to those people.  But Mandela was not like this.  He truly believed that all people were important and the freedom (both physical and spiritual) of all people was important as well.  This was a very generous attitude because he truly cared about the people who had done terrible things to him and other people like him. 

It is truly incredible to see that a person who was imprisoned for almost 30 years for fighting for his people’s rights could care so much about those who imprisoned him.  This is my reaction to this particular idea expressed by Nelson Mandela. 

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