In Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Road to Freedom, he reminisced about the stories and fables told to him by his mother.
“Whereas my father once told stories of historic battles and heroic Xhosa warriors, my mother would enchant us with Xhosa legends and fables that had come down from numberless generations. These tales stimulated my childish imagination, and usually contained some moral lesson. I recall one story my mother told us about a traveler who was approached by an old woman with terrible cataracts on her eyes. The woman asked the traveler for help, and the man averted his eyes. Then another man came along and was approached by the old woman. She asked him to clean her eyes, and even though he found the task unpleasant, he did as she asked. Then, miraculously, the scales fell from the old woman's eyes and she became young and beautiful. The man married her and became wealthy and prosperous. It is a simple tale, but its message is an enduring one: virtue and generosity will be rewarded in ways that one cannot know.”
Like the old man, Mandela took on the unpleasant task of helping rid South Africa of its ugly scales of apartheid. His generous spirit of self-sacrifice was duly rewarded by the liberation of his country. Mandela is a testament to the growing prosperity of the South African people.
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