Mandela: Legend, Inspiration, Man

It is rare that I am at a loss for words. However, I struggle to properly phrase the loss humanity has experienced. We love legends – Leonidas and his stand at Thermopylae, Gandhi’s humility crumbling British reign over India, King’s stand against the great USA in all its might and glory. To that honor roll of human legends, not myths, we add Nelson Mandela. I try not to say things like “if I lived in that day and age I would have done the right thing.” I am a realist. I do not know if I would have endured and stood like Rosa Parks or been as courageous as a Harriet Tubman. I do not lie to myself because the human heart is frail and weak and can betray. We all have a “gollum” within us that would make us depraved to the human condition should we find our “precious.” However, some people are born with strength to endure and embody greatness. I can not express how profound his legacy has been on humanity. So I honor him with my some of my favorite quotes that gives glimpses into this man who instead of sitting on the sidelines and complaining, entered the arena of injustice, inhumanity, and hate and came out victorious for all.

The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.  -Steve (Stephen Bantu) Biko of South Africa
Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.  No man hath affliction enough that is not matured, ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.  -John Donne
Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched and those who have tried. For only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives. – Unknown
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  – Theodore Roosevelt” The Man in the Arena” speech at the Sorbonne in Paris
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the one who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.  – Einstein
Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather skid in sideways totally worn out and shouting “What a Ride!”
Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.