Maturity In Recalling Our History

Nelson Mandela. Photo by Yousef Karsh

When Nelson Mandela became President, many of the oppressed of South Africa naturally wanted revenge for the years of apartheid. But instead Mandela said, no, we shall not do to our oppressors what they have done to us, we are all one people, and we must forgive and come together.

It reminds me of when the FNM captured governance in 1992. Many Bahamians victimized for years by the previous administration wanted revenge, and wanted to be able to do what the former administration did to them.

But the FNM’s new leader said no, we won’t do business the way they did business, we are all Bahamians and we must work together. To this day, many FNMs never forgave their former leader for refusing to be like his political adversary and refusing to treat PLPs like many PLPs treated FNMs and others who did not support them.

As Bahamians express condolences on the death of the great Nelson Mandela, I wonder if they can ever become mature enough to recognize the time in their recent history as an independent nation when that heart of forgiveness – though resented and unappreciated – played an important role in the growth of the nation and its democracy.

RIP to one of my most prolific influences in life – Nelson Mandela.

Sharon Turner