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10 Dramatic Acts of Human Kindness


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Nelson Mandela Invites His Jailer to His Inauguration
Nelson Mandela being sworn in as the first democratically elected President of South Africa in 1994. © Louise Gubb/CORBIS SABA
Nelson Mandela being sworn in as the first democratically elected President of South Africa in 1994. © Louise Gubb/CORBIS SABA

Nelson Mandela was convicted of sabotage during apartheid in South Africa and served 27 years in prison on Robben Island. When he was released in 1990, he didn't seek revenge against his former jailers; rather, he invited one of them, a white man named Christo Brand, to his 1994 presidential inauguration. In fact, Brand was also invited to Mandela's 20th anniversary celebration of his release from prison. Another of Mandela's jailers, James Gregory, also spoke and wrote about his friendship with the political prisoner.

Gregory and Brand both have spoken about their deep respect for Mandela -- Brand, specifically, has spoken about his transformation from a pro-apartheid young man into a man against racial segregation and oppression. Mandela's influence, according to Brand, was life-changing, and their friendship has become a lesson in forgiveness for many around the world.


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