The Goal Of This Book

In the foreword to Mandela – The Authorised Portrait Kofi Annan wrote:

The only adequate way in which we can truly express our gratitude for his lifetime’s contribution is for every one of us to work every day to seek to follow his example.

My goal is to provide a practical tool for all to respectfully follow his example.  I also wish to acknowledge all those who contributed to this great historic precedent. As Richard Stengel points out in {} Mandela’s Way it goes far back and includes many people not referred to here, people as diverse as Winston Churchill, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Julius Nyerere, Haile Selassie, and an English headmaster.  Mandela himself has always been the first to share credit and acknowledge the influence of others in the development of his thinking.  He is proud to admit that he stands on the shoulders of others who have gone before.

To encourage, and enable readers to follow his example is the only goal of this book.

Political beliefs, and claims to ownership, have been expressed about segments of the history of the Robben Island World Heritage Site and its role models. In the context of governments and current events this book can be politicized. I do, however, respect different beliefs which form part of other people’s models of the world and commend any model or belief which helps us to follow Mandela’s example.  It is also worth noting that Mandela is remarkably open to new and good ideas.  He is not in the least sectarian.  On Robben Island, the political prisoners did not just come from his own political party.  There were even prisoners from Namibia.  Mandela’s great talent was to make them see what it was that they had in common – and to try and find the very best in each person.

In the following pages I have identified some of the vital lessons that Mandela and his fellows learned from their convictions and their own role-models.  We can benefit from this and can gain immeasurably by following these examples.  Use the book as a recipe and many small efforts and resources can synergistically lead to bigger results!

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