Reflection on Nelson Mandela’s Prison Release 25 years ago

The release of Nelson Mandela 25 years ago made history. The world saw that which seemed impossible become possible. It was very exciting and heart-warming news for the nation and the world at large. His release was a promissory note that indeed a new South Africa was about to be born and the liberation struggle was about to pay off.

Today there are so many people in prisons; some by choice, some were wrongly accused and others are unaware that they are prisoners. Whichever way, a prison robs one’s human dignity and rights. It hinders one from contributing to the world in a meaningful way thereby robbing the world of the opportunity to be better. Just like the world rejoiced when Madiba was declared free, the world today awaits the release of men and women into their God given purposes.

To be a prisoner is to be misplaced and unable to function and participate fully in shaping the course of events. Prisoners are people who live in the shadows of others.

To be in prison is to hand over the rights of being a change agent.

To be in prison is to lose hope and forget that you too have the ability that can benefit humanity.

To be in prison is to settle for less than what you were meant to be and believe in a lie that you do not deserve better.

To be in prison is to engage in activities and behaviours that rob you and the world of your true essence.

The saddest thing today, is that there are so many people with a Madiba factor, whose presence in the affairs of communities, cities, nations and the world at large can be revolutionary but yet these individuals are in self-imposed prisons.

It’s imperative if the world will be a better place that we all embark on a journey of unshackling ourselves so that we can live impactful lives. Here are a few types of self-created prison cells.

Self -pity

Pity for oneself, especially exaggerated or self-indulgent pity where you believe that you are the victim who has done no wrong and is deserving of condolence from everyone is dangerous. Self-pity gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality. Someone once said “Self-pity is an icky liquid you swim around in when you blame the world for your problems”

These types of individuals who wallow in self-pity usually go around in a bad mood, feeling sorry for themselves, feeling they’ve been wronged somehow. They blame everyone for their predicament except themselves. They failed because of someone or something else. They don’t own up to their own faults. These people believe that he or she is the victim of unfortunate circumstances or events and is therefore deserving of condolence. If you are this type of an individual, you are in prison and chances are you will always access far less than what you deserve.


Most people are afraid of trying and failing because they are so concerned about what people will say. People always talk whether you are doing something or not. A person who fears to attempt to do something cannot be compared to the one who tried and just didn’t succeed. For centuries fear has hindered many from being the stars of hope in their generation. Fear has sent great men and women into hiding instead of being on the stage of life. A person who fails or loses because he attempted to do something is far better than the one who failed to take a step at all. To tap into your personal power and leave a mark you have to break out the chains of fear.


The truth will set you free. Ignorance represents darkness, whereas knowledge represents light. If you are going to make a meaningful contribution, never be-friend ignorance. It is true that the problem you are unaware of will always thrive on your ignorance. If you are going to be free, be a seeker of information. Be inquisitive, try to question and understand why things are the way they are. I have always said that knowing what might be eating you is healthier than healthy eating. Knowledge is power and the more you know the more power you will have to break past your limitation. In fact your freedom will always be in proportion to what you know and the struggles of your life will also be in proportion to your ignorance.


According to medical news today, people with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful. Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything. These could be such abstract things such as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioural addiction (e.g. gambling addiction). Everything ought to be done in moderation no matter how enjoyable something might be, because an addiction is an indication of a prison because it confines one’s view, desire and resources to one particular craving. In most instances it renders one dysfunctional and make one’s life begin to revolve around meeting the demand of that particular addiction. Therefore it’s critical to practice self-restraint in all you do, this will help you have a well-balanced life. Addictions have the ability of striping you of your dignity and resources that can be channelled to other important activities that are more deserving.

Praying that your prison release will not take 25 years. You have the keys to free yourself. Madiba’s release was dependent on those who incarcerated him, yours is a matter of choice.

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