Mandela and Tolstoy

Imraan Coovadia in n + 1:

ScreenHunter_456 Dec. 10 21.11President Nelson Mandela died on December 5. There are countless remembrances in South Africa of his grace and wit, his strength, and the unconstrained speed of his forgiveness. When you take him at his word, though, you can see something else behind the beautiful character. In politics, he described himself as a strategist. He liked to make a friend, or neutralize an adversary; he liked, best of all, to transform his adversaries. For this reason his strategy, if it ever was one, was a form of the golden rule. His shrewdness about people was innocent and particular and apparently down-to-earth, and it was visible early in his life: “There is a fellow I became friendly with at Healdtown [a Methodist school], and that friendship bore fruit when I reached Johannesburg. A chap called Zachariah Molete. He was in charge of sour milk in Healdtown, and if you were friendly to him, he would give you very thick sour milk.” Mandela applied the same lesson to his jailors on Robben Island, and, in the end, to the National Party as a whole.

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