Facts? They'll go with feelings... ...
Of all the things that have been said and will be said about Nelson Mandela, it is his small stories that move me most. His long days in the prison on Robben Island, where resentment gave way to clarity.
What my father told me was exactly what Mandela said when he got out of jail. He asked the South African people to rewrite their songs, to resist their first impulse. He said: Please do not to be defined by the prejudices of your enemies.
Nelson Mandela's passing is filled with so many lessons for humanity, and for each of us individually.
We take comfort that Madiba has finally lain down to rest and is at peace. He was upright his whole life.
Mandela was home to so many of us who have lived in the in-between. Brave orator, brilliant lawyer, complicated father. Flawed and wildly followable.
From his widely acclaimed accomplishments, we all can be inspired to a greater participation in and contribution to the world around us. But along with all of that, there are three inspiring features to be found in the more basic information and experiences of this great man's magnanimous life.
American leaders are obsessed with their legacy. Second-term presidents make a mad dash to do something, anything, that will allow history to judge them favorably. Mandela never stooped to this. If he made history, it was as a healer of souls.
This powerful messenger may have made his transition but the message that thundered so loudly through his words and actions in his lifetime may be kept alive and thriving through us.
The true greatness of Mandela, the most profound miracle he performed, was that he made his supporters, his enemies, and his admirers around the world believe that the world could change and be redeemed; he made all of us believe that "the way things are" is not the way things have to be.
The greatest privilege of my life as an activist was working with Nelson Mandela. He was the closest thing to a saint I have ever met - a man truly without anger. And given what was done to him, how could that be?
Waking up to a world without Nelson Mandela is not unimaginable. We have come perilously close to it over and over again. The idea of Nelson Mandela was strong. But the reality of Nelson Mandela had been on life support for a long time. Now only the idea remains.
Mandela was neither a commander of great armies nor an emperor of vast lands. He could boast no scientific achievements or artistic gifts. Yet men, women and children from all over the world join hands to pay homage to this brave man who led his country to democracy.
I never had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela. Yet, like so many others, I feel like I knew him.
Nelson Mandela has died. We extend our condolences to his family and his nation well. And, we stop and reflect on what he has taught us both as a person and as a part of a social movement.
As a child born and raised in Zimbabwe, I grew up hearing his name spoken and his story being shared almost every day. And 46 years later his legacy continues.