Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young tells Newsmax that it's a mistake to look at former South African President Nelson Mandela as a political figure and forget how his strong religious beliefs sustained him.
"Many of these African leaders of Mandela's generation were educated by Christian missionaries in South Africa," Young said Friday in an interview with Newsmax TV about the death of Mandela on Thursday at age 95. "We share the heritage of Biblical truth, but also we kind of identified with the children of Israel who had been imprisoned in Egypt."
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"We forget, we tend to look at Mandela politically, but there's also a religious component there that we ought not forget," added Young, a leader in the civil rights movement and a former congressman and Atlanta mayor.
While Mandela's 27 years in prison helped give him the tools he needed to overcome his captors, "that's true of the Bible also," Young said, stressing that without faith there is little hope. Mandela, he suggested, found his in the form of his imprisonment and the strong beliefs that he was brought up with that helped sustain him.
Young likened Mandela to the biblical figure, "Joseph who had been jailed by his brothers and who ended up leading Egypt out of the famine."
Young who was a pastor in Alabama in the 1950s and worked closely with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. said Mandela belongs with the elite group of leaders in the world, such as King and Ghandi, who practiced nonviolence.
Mandela's impact was felt "not only in South Africa," but throughout the world.
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