December 6, 2013 by Colin Kelly
It’s not just that he made a difference.
It’s that he made a difference at a time when the world he lived in was set up specifically to prevent him from making a difference.
And not just him. Everyone like him. His friends, family – his contemporaries. A system was in place, deliberately set up, to stop him and everyone he could relate to, achieving anything of note.
And that was before they put him in prison.
Once he was there, the odds were stacked against him even higher.
The first few years he was only allowed a handful of letters. People who could have helped his cause or shown him support were banned from visiting him. He was refused glasses when he complained the sun burned his eyes as it reflected off the lime in the quarry he was made to work in.
Bit by bit, day by day, Nelson Mandela made a difference. And you can discover how he did it, by reading his autobiography which explains it all very clearly.
And on 11th February 1990, after 27 years in captivity, he walked free.
There were many, of course who helped raise awareness of his cause, who put pressure on governments, and who played their part in the end of the Apartheid regime.
Those of us today, inspired by events like Live Aid, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the release of Nelson Mandela, expect to be able to make a difference. When children are asked, ‘What would you like to do with your life’, one of the most frequent answers is ‘to make a difference’.
And unlike Nelson Mandela when he was in captivity, there is absolutely nothing stopping us.