Nelson Mandela: Uncommon Dreamer


“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
-Nelson Mandela

Today as I read tweets, Facebook posts, and articles paying tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, there was a consensus of attributes he was given.

To name a few.

Leader, Passionate, Hero, Selfless, Committed, Legend, Icon, Visionary, Warrior, Courageous, and Devoted.

One word I failed to see was Uncommon.

There was nothing common about the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

  1. He was born with the name Rolihlahla that means “troublemaker”. A teacher gave him the name Nelson. Nelson means son of the Champion.
  2. He was adopted by an acting King.
  3. He wasn’t the best student, but he later became one of his countries first black lawyers.
  4. He was sentenced to life in prison where he served 27 years.
  5. He received a Noble Peace Prize along side the President whom he later beat to win his Presidency by almost 8 million votes.
  6. At the age of 75 he was elected the first black President of South Africa. 7. Until 2008, he remained on the terrorist no-fly list.

“When our Elders talk listen, when our Elders do, take notes.” -LaChaya Terry

I believe life experiences redefined Nelson Mandela. While many people would have given up during a long 27-year sentence, he utilized his time to rejoin his destiny. I’m sure countless people gave up on him and said he wouldn’t make it. Today, I’m inspired by his legacy to use my uncommonness as strength and not as a weakness. To use my life experiences both negative and positive to build something great.


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