“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” — Nelson Mandela.

NELSON Mandela left a great legacy not only for his homeland of South Africa, but also for the rest of the world. His great courage to stand up and fight racism and bigotry has certainly inspired us to believe that change is possible.

Like many other great leaders, Mandela showed us that positive change can happen only when there is compassion, and I agree completely.

Growing up, I had always believed there is good in everyone and that love makes the world go round. But now, it seems everywhere I go – especially online – there’s always someone with something nasty to say.

But I never really understood why we’re often so angry; and even when we’re not, we still choose to find fault in others. We don’t even give the other party a chance to speak before we pass judgement.

People tend to alienate those who are different. If you’ve been reading the #RAGEAgainstBullying stories, you would notice that bullies often pick on others simply because they’re different.

If we lived in a more compassionate world, then maybe things like bullying wouldn’t occur.

So that leaves me to wonder: why the hate? Why can’t we choose to calmly talk things through and settle our misunderstandings peacefully?

Mandela was imprisoned for nearly three decades for going against apartheid, but he was never a violent man. He was patient and calm – yet his message got across. He proved that you don’t have to be aggressive and angry to have things go your way.

And that reaffirms my belief that we were all made to love through the good and bad. If there’s something that you don’t like, bring it up in a positive manner. Hatred and aggression would only make things worse.

I hope we remember Mandela for his passion and compassion. Not only did he end apartheid in South Africa, he has also inspired many of us to take little steps to impart change in society.

He once said: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

Let us keep his memory alive by learning to forgive and forget, and to always strive to spread more compassion in society. If you think about it, that’s all we really need in order to grow.

The writer is a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme, organised by R.AGE. For more information, and to apply to join the programme, log on to

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