A free mind


I wanted to understand the history while exploring South Africa, so I took a tour to Robben Island. The maximum security prison that held Nelson Mandela for 18 Years of 27years in prison is here. We saw the tiny cells, the blinding white rock they had to quarry all day and talked to tour guides, who were political prisoners there. It makes you think, what would you stand up against? What beliefs would you go to prison for?

Our tour guide explained that even though they had done 12 hours of hard labour in the quarry, in the evening they would come back and spend time in lessons. Some would teach, others would learn to read and write. Now that is incredible, they may have been in an external prison, but they were free to choose what to do with their minds. They were civilised and spent time improving themselves from the inside out. How honourable! Remember this story when you are struggling with a difficult situation and you feel you have no choice. You always have choice, a choice in how you react. If they can do it, then you too can act with dignity and come out of it a better person.

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