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. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.

Explanation:

 

Apartheid policies left a significant and long-lasting wound in South Africa and people. Mandela states that they will all need years, if not generations, to heal from that great loss. But the oppression and brutality of the decades had an unintended consequence: it produced the Oliver Tambos, Walter Sisulus, Chief Luthulis, Yusuf Dadoos, Bram Fischers, and Robert Sobukwes of his time. They were men of such extraordinary courage, wisdom, and generosity that their like may never be known again. Mandela thinks that, perhaps such tyranny was required to achieve such heights of character.

 

His country's soil is rich in minerals and gems, but he declares that he had always understood that its greatest asset is its people, who are finer and more true than the purest diamonds.

 

Meanings of difficult words:
 
Sl. No
Words
Meanings
1
ValleyA low area of land between hills or mountains, typically with a river or stream flowing through it
2
CrestThe top of a mountain or hill
3
RipeHaving arrived at the fitting stage or time for a particular action or purpose
4
DownpourA heavy fall of rain
5
ShowerA brief and usually light fall of rain, hail, sleet, or snow
6
IntimatelyIn a way that involves detailed knowledge
Reference:

National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). First Flight. Nelson Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (pp. 16 - 23). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi..