By Stewart Bernard

On 5 December, 2013, Nelson Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg at the age of 95.

I only have one hero in this world and his name is Nelson Mandela.

Why do you ask?

Long story short. Nelson Mandela overcame 27 years of wrongful imprisonment by forgiving his captors, enemies and naysayers.

If I was imprisoned wrongfully, I would hate everyone responsible and I would be looking for vengeance and retaliation. Unfortunately, I do not have the fortitude of Nelson Mandela and I wish I did.

In January of 2013, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit his country, South Africa. I spent 17 days in South Africa and neighboring countries(Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland). This was my first trip to South Africa but my fourth trip to the continent of Africa(Egypt and Kenya twice).

I have traveled all over the world and Africa is one of the most beautiful continents I have ever witnessed. Capetown, South Africa is the most beautiful city I have ever witnessed.

TABLE BAY, CAPETOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

MOUNTAIN, TABLE BAY,, CAPETOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

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If you ever get the opportunity to visit South Africa, you should immediately take advantage of that.

Back to Nelson Mandela:

I was also fortunate enough to visit 4 residences of Nelson Mandela:

1. His 5×5 jail cell on Robben Island(18 years sleeping on the floor)

NELSON MANDELA'S JAIL CELL, ROBBEN ISLAND, SOUTH AFRICA

2. His home at Victor Versen Prison

DRAKENSTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA

3. His family home in Soweto

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4. His Presidential Palace in Johannesburg where he died

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It was both an honor and a privilege to visit and set foot into places where such a great person also set foot.

His ability to forgive was overwhelming but not as great as his ability to bring opposite forces together in peace.  He even won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

The world has lost a great leader and shoes that probably will never be filled.

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