The Mandela Day: Remember To Advocate Peaceful Racial Reconciliation As A Solution To Racial Bigotry

Updated: Jul 22

Written by: Tomi Mitchell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Every 18th of July, the world commemorates a person who has dedicated his entire life to end South Africa's racist system of apartheid – Nelson Mandela. From being an infamous political prisoner then becoming South Africa’s first black president, Mandela has dismantled racism and has instigated racial reconciliation.

Everything that Mandela stood and fought for should be highlighted and emphasized at all times. Mandela showed absolute determination and a deep commitment to pursue justice, human rights, and freedom. He was unyielding in his goal for dialogue and solidarity. Even though he is known as a fierce advocate for equality, he has shown that it is possible to usher in a peaceful transition to democracy.

But the work is not yet done. Mandela was known for his line: “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.” Mandela himself had shared in his autobiography, “The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.” He has become a symbol of hope, an epitome of the power of resisting oppression and choosing forgiveness over hatred.

Mandela once said,

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

Sure enough, racial discrimination in all its dark facets and horrors will result in deep-rooted hatred. But Mandela must have known the effect of resentment on one’s mental health. His advocacy to foster peaceful racial reconciliation is worth promulgating and emulating.

Poisonous indeed, more poisonous than the act of racial bigotry itself. Yes, experiencing racial discrimination and injustice can result in a crippling emotional toll. Moreover, racism has been known to trigger chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and racial trauma.

Fostering change through channeling one’s anger and resentment into something constructive and peaceful to elicit meaningful change is a form of self-care. The fight against racial prejudice is far from over, and it has become more than just a fight against injustice – it has also expanded to become a fight for self-preservation.

So how does one fight for self-preservation amid racial prejudice? Here are a few strategies.

Open up to others and share your pain. You are not alone in experiencing racial discrimination. But your healing and resilience are your primary responsibility. Hence, honestly share your experiences with others, and find a community with the same ideals as yours.