This chapter Mandela titles “Talking with the enemy.” Indeed, the ruling National Party was starting to realize that majority rule was inevitable. They were coming under increasing political and financial pressure, new sanctions were imposed by the UN, US, and other countries, more companies closed their operations in South Africa, banks and investors decreased their holdings in the country, ANC acts of sabotage increased, protests and riots and bloodshed on both sides kept increasing, the days of apartheid were numbered. […]
Prison made Mandela a living martyr. Mandela had the good fortune to be the first military director of the ANC just as it started its campaign of sabotage, which meant he was that rarest of generals, the general who had no blood on his hands. His blood free hands allowed him to successfully make the transition to majority rule after apartheid was abandoned.
Mandela was a stoic. He echoes Epictetus when he writes, “prison and the authorities conspire to rob each man of his dignity. No man or institution can rob me of my dignity because I refuse to part with it for any price or pressure. I never seriously considered the possibility that I would not emerge from prison one day.” […]
Mandela was a reluctant revolutionary. He recalls his thoughts at the time, “I began to suspect that both legal and extra-constitutional protests would soon be impossible. In India, Gandhi had been dealing with a foreign power that was more realistic and farsighted, unlike the Afrikaners in South Africa. Non-violent passive resistance is effective as long as your opposition adheres to the same rules as you do. But if peaceful protest is met with violence, its efficacy is at an end. For me, nonviolence was not a moral principal but a strategy; there is no moral in using an ineffective weapon.” […]
Although Mandela never mentions stoicism, his public and private life demonstrates stoic qualities. Mandela in his law practice and later in his politics strives to work for the public good, avoids strong emotions, lives in spartan simplicity, accepts his present lot in life, is tolerant and forgiving in his relationships with both friends and enemies, always keeping open lines of communication with bitter enemies, but never avoiding the difficult decisions thrust upon us both by events and by those close to us who disappoint us. […]