A Bit of Wisdom from Nelson Mandela

Blane and I have started reading Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. It is always interesting to see how little things in someone’s formative years so greatly influence their personality and leadership style as an adult.

Last night we read a particularly poignant and timely piece of wisdom from his experiences observing tribal meetings in his early teens. He says:

“The meetings would continue until some kind of consensus was reached. They ended in unanimity or not at all. Unanimity, however, might be an agreement to disagree, to wait for a more propitious time to propose a solution. Democracy meant all were heard, and a decision was taken together as a people. Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority.” (Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. New York City: Back Bay Books, 1994. pp. 21-22.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Anglican Communion, or American society and government for that matter, worked that way? We could all do well to learn from African Thembu culture.

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