Mandela on Haile Selassie

 

September 28,

Picture of Nelson MandelaWhat do Haile Selassie and Mandela have in common? Among other things, both are Africa’s most prominent politicians who have come to be considered as inspiring and iconic figures of our age. Though one was a symbol of regal and feudal power and the other a revolutionary with Marxist inclination, both have come to demonstrate great political ability and astuteness during their period in office. Both suffered colonial oppression, and both of them mobilized their respective peoples against oppressors that violated their freedoms. Both are cool, self-contained men, who managed to stay calm and graceful under pressure.

In 1962, the burly, black-haired Mandela came to Ethiopia seeking military and political training to fight apartheid. At a young age and without much experience as a freedom fighter, Mandela was thrilled to see and meet the black independent sovereign who already gained prominence in the international scene. The following excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s new book, Conversations With Myself, renders a portrait of Haile Selassie based on a meeting with the Ethiopian Emperor in military parade in Addis Ababa. From a recorded conversation with Time magazine editor, Stengel, we could see that Mandela was clearly impressed by the Emperor’s statesmanship. He spoke few words given their distant acquaintance but they will carry immense weight simply because of who he is. Describing the Emperor as “an impressive fellow man, man, very impressive”, Mandela adds: “It was my first time to watch…a head of state going through the formalities.” Here is the whole text.

 

Conversations with Richard Stengel about meeting Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia

STENGEL: So tell me about the Emperor, Haile Selassie. You met him.

MANDELA: That was an impressive fellow, man, very impressive. It was my first time to watch…a head of state going through the formalities… the motions of formality. This chap came wearing a uniform and he then came and bowed. But it was a bow which was not a bow –he stood erect, you see, but just brought down his head…then…took his seat and addressed us, but he spoke in (Amharic)…Then, at the end of the conference he saw every, each delegation…and Comrade Oliver Tambo asked me to speak for our delegation, to speak to him. And I explained to him very briefly what was happening in South Africa…He was seated on his chair, listening like a log…not nodding, just immovable, you know, like a statue…The next time I saw him was when we attended a military parade, and that was very impressive (whistles), absolutely impressive. And he was then giving awards…to the soldiers; everyone who had graduated got a certificate… A very fine ceremony-a very dignified chap- and he also gave medals. There (were) American military advisors… (and) groups of military advisers from various countries …And so he gave medals to these chaps too. But to see whites going to a black monarch emperor and bowing was also very interesting.

The truth is, the Emperor HELPED MANDELA TO END APARTHIED. The emperor gave Mandela the first gun that he ever touched and trained him and the other leaders at KOLFE in Addis. This Mandela said so in his book.

Be that as it may, the said ‘ Oromo ‘ colonel was picked to train Mandela by the Emperor, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a mere colonel in the army cannot give a firearm to a foreign national without the knowing nod or the order of the Emperor. As for slavery, Emperor Minilik worked the hardest to abolish slave trade and Emperor Haile Sellassie effectively ended it. Guess who the most notorious slave trader was in southern Ethiopia ? – It was the Oromo king, Jimma Aba jiffar who reputedly owned as many as 10,000 slaves. The letters that emperor Minilik wrote to him are a matter of record. One of them starts thus : I have told you before again and again to stop selling and buying slaves……After learning that jiffar was still involed in the buying and selling of southern Ethiopian slaves to Arab countries he also wrote him letters of admonition. It’s all a matter of record.

 

 

Nelson Mandela Quotes

Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela

 

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

 

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

Nelson Mandela

 

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

Nelson Mandela

 

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

 

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Nelson Mandela

 

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

Nelson Mandela

 

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

Nelson Mandela

 

It always seems impossible until its done.

Nelson Mandela

 

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

Nelson Mandela

 

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.

Nelson Mandela

 

There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.

Nelson Mandela

 

In my country we go to prison first and then become President.

Nelson Mandela

 

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

Nelson Mandela

 

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.

Nelson Mandela

 

I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.

Nelson Mandela

 

If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don't ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers.

Nelson Mandela

 

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.

Nelson Mandela

 

Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will.

Nelson Mandela

 

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

Nelson Mandela

 

Does anybody really think that they didn't get what they had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?

Nelson Mandela

 

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Nelson Mandela

 

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.

Nelson Mandela

 

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.

Nelson Mandela

 

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

Nelson Mandela

 

We can't afford to be killing one another.

Nelson Mandela

 

Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.

Nelson Mandela

 

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

Nelson Mandela

 

No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.

Nelson Mandela

 

I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.

Nelson Mandela

 

Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.

Nelson Mandela

 

I am confident that nobody... will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I am still in good health, with my family, my friends and also with myself.

Nelson Mandela

 

When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.

Nelson Mandela

 

In countries where innocent people are dying, the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains.

Nelson Mandela

 

Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake.

Nelson Mandela

 

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.

Nelson Mandela

 

I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.

Nelson Mandela

 

I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.

Nelson Mandela

 

Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.

Nelson Mandela

 

If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.

Nelson Mandela

 

Forget the past.

Nelson Mandela

 

I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

Nelson Mandela

 

It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.

Nelson Mandela

 

Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS.

Nelson Mandela

 

Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.

Nelson Mandela

 

I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel, within secure borders.

Nelson Mandela

 

I made a mistake by being ejected from the presidency. Next time, I will choose a Cabinet which will allow me to be life President.

Nelson Mandela

 

There is no such thing as part freedom.

Nelson Mandela

 

Sometimes, I feel like one who is on the sidelines, who has missed life itself.

Nelson Mandela

 

Leaders in all spheres who are living with HIV should be encouraged, not coerced, to lead by example and disclose their HIV status.

Nelson Mandela

 

I have retired, but if there's anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.

Nelson Mandela

 

I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism.

Nelson Mandela

 

By ancestry, I was born to rule.

Nelson Mandela

 

Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom.

Nelson Mandela

 

You know, you can only lead them from behind.

Nelson Mandela

 

Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.

Nelson Mandela

 

I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot.

Nelson Mandela

 

I have been influenced in my thinking by both west and east.

Nelson Mandela

 

I can't pretend that I'm brave and that I can beat the whole world.

Nelson Mandela

 

If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.

Nelson Mandela

 

Nonviolence is a good policy when the conditions permit.

Nelson Mandela

 

I really wanted to retire and rest and spend more time with my children, my grandchildren and of course with my wife.

Nelson Mandela

 

Africans require, want, the franchise on the basis of one man one vote. They want political independence.

Nelson Mandela

 

My son has died of AIDS.

Nelson Mandela

 

There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.

Nelson Mandela

 

I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists.

Nelson Mandela

 

Communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of Communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements.

Nelson Mandela

 

There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, and ridden with terminal disease.

Nelson Mandela

 

I started to make a study of the art of war and revolution and, whilst abroad, underwent a course in military training. If there was to be guerrilla warfare, I wanted to be able to stand and fight with my people and to share the hazards of war with them.

Nelson Mandela

 

Let us give publicity to H.I.V./AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say somebody has died because of H.I.V./AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary.

Nelson Mandela

 

Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual.

Nelson Mandela

 

There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty.

Nelson Mandela

 

I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.

Nelson Mandela

 

Before I went to jail, I was active in politics as a member of South Africa's leading organization - and I was generally busy from 7 A.M. until midnight. I never had time to sit and think.

Nelson Mandela

 

There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people.

Nelson Mandela

 

The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken.

Nelson Mandela

 

The titanic effort that has brought liberation to South Africa, and ensured the total liberation of Africa, constitutes an act of redemption for the black people of the world.

Nelson Mandela