December 6, 2013
Mandela and Traveling “Great” Distances
By: Joseph S. Fichera
In the early 90′s, as South Africa was transitioning to freedom, I traveled there several times as an investment banker seeking to help South Africa with their first sovereign debt offering, the privatization of state assets as well as equity offerings for South African businesses that had been shut out of US markets because of apartheid.
There is a spot in Capetown called “Table Top” mountain and from there you can see the Robben island prison that housed Mandela for 27 years and if your turn ever so slightly you can see the president of South Africa’s house. the distance is remarkably close, maybe 4 miles or 80 or so blocks in Manhattan.
I always thought, in wonderment and awe, how much happened throughout the world that got one man to travel that short distance from prison house to president house.
And it was South Africa that led the way for racial harmony… teaching us a lesson about about tolerance and change. Below is a poem that Mandela has said was part of his inspiration…and I can see why.Out of the night that covers me,
Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole / I thanks whatever gods may be, for my unconquerable soul. / In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud / Under the bludgeonings of fate, my head is bloody, but unbowed. / Beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the horror of the shade / and yet, the menace of the years finds, and shall find me, unafraid. / It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll / I am the master of my fate – I am the captain of my soul.
Let us all be thankful and inspired.