One of the things that Nelson Mandela’s death reminds us is how there can often be positive transformations out of adversity.
In his book Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote:
“The policy of apartheid created a deep and lasting wound in my country and my people. All of us will spend many years, if not generations, recovering from that profound hurt. But the decades of oppression and brutality had another, unintended, effect, and that was that it produced the Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time—men of such extraordinary courage, wisdom and generosity that their like may never be known again. Perhaps it requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character.”
Posttraumatic growth is most often thought of in relation to individuals, perhaps following illnesses or accidents, and how their adversity is the springboard to their personal transformation. While recognizing that there are still difficulties in South Africa, what this quote highlights is how adversity can actually be transformative socially; urging collective actions and promoting positive change, perhaps even for entire nations.