In a time when the discourse on nonracialism is being interrogated and found wanting, we should remember that Mandela’s instinct was always to listen to others, and to respect “the other”. He believed in the power of dialogue. But at the same time, he stood by a moral code.
We should remember how, during Codesa, he led the ANC’s withdrawal from negotiations in the wake of state-sanctioned violence, yet kept channels open to achieve a solution.
Richard Stengel, Mandela’s collaborator on Long Walk to Freedom, noted that Mandela “would always rather persuade you to do something than order you to do so ... [But he] will always stand up for what he believes is right with a stubbornness that is virtually unbending”.
LISTEN TO OTHERS, BUT STAND BY YOUR CONVICTIONS