In an age when it's nothing to carry a grudge against the waiter for bringing the wrong salad dressing it is hard to conceive of the personal wherewithal mustered by Nelson Mandela to subvert the memory of his oppression. And then to subsequently lead his people, and the rest of the world, out of the travesty of apartheid.
Yet here we are, safely tucked away in a world that opted out of a full scale South African race war by disemboweling centuries old racism. And I am not talking about outmaneuvering that bullshit racism practiced in America. South African racism was the gold standard for subjugating an entire majority of people with a viciousness that in hindsight seems like a lie somebody told to besmirch the humanity of the Boers.
Mr. Mandela took full advantage of the freedom that 27 years of incarceration afforded him in order to become the myth. And at the end of those 27 years fully embodying that myth to take on the role of leader and statesman with no more apparent effort than it takes to walk out to the curb for the morning paper. He became the liberator of his people and graciously carried that weight for the rest of his life.