Nelson Mandela died last week (Thursday, actually) at the age of 95. Invictus is the name of a movie which recounts the poem below. While in prison on Robbon Island, he recited this poem to other prisoners and was empowered by the self-mastery message in it. It is a powerful poem. Mandela was a powerful person. We and the world were blessed that he was with us for 95 years; that he was the master of his fate and captain of his soul.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank 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 chance
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 punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
~~William Ernest Henley
When I read this poem and think of Mandela (aka Madiba). I also think of the evaluator’s guiding principles, especially the last three: Honesty/Integrity, Respect for People, and Responsibilities for General and Public Welfare. Mandela could have been an evaluator as even the first two principles could apply (Systematic Inquiry and Competence). He was certainly competent and he did systematic inquiry. He used these principles in an arena other than evaluation. Yet by doing what he did, he was able to determine the merit and worth of what he did. The world was lucky to have him for so long. He was the change he wished to see; and he changed the world.