For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
It’s hard to think of Madiba Mandela and not think of his love for Africa. Only a man with such rare love would do so much, suffer for this love and not be cowered still.
Tributes have been pouring in but I fear that these people have little or no idea about the Mandela dream- otherwise how would someone, an African, ask who Mandela is? Why would someone write, RIP Mandela while using the picture of Morgan Freeman? Why would someone say that she loved Mandela because he was a great actor? These people have no idea. While most of us dream on our beds, Madiba dreamt while changing and illuminating his reality.
Madiba is what many people can never be. Madiba has done what a lot can never imagine let alone do. As a man shaped by his circumstances, he spoke about freedom throughout his life time.
“The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come,” From prison (1990) to president, Mandela said in his acceptance speech on becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994. A dream that most people get to places of authority with but forget along the line when overwhelmed with forces of power. Madiba didn’t!
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.” said the anti-apartheid revolutionist, Madiba. “It is an ideal I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” said by a man who said that if he had a chance to relive his life, would do nothing differently. He acknowledged, inspired and shaped humanity.
He was sent to prison (27 years) for advocating armed resistance to apartheid. Indeed he led people out of years of apartheid oppression.
A man whose face is constantly lit with hope and an unabashed smile.
In 1980s, age and effects of his prison days, took their tolls on him as he suffered from tuberculosis and later required an operation to repair damage to his eyes as well as treatment for prostate cancer in 2001. However, his spirit remained stronger. “If cancer wins I will still be the better winner,” he told reporters in September of that year. Madiba was very determined and deterred by nothing. Truth is, it won’t be easy to verbalize my feelings, love and the respect I have for him.
One of his major criticisms was his relationship with Muammar Gaddafi which people failed to realise was fuelled by Gaddafi’s contributions to the South Africa liberation movements.
US President said that Madiba’s life has taught him what people can do when they are guided by their hopes and not their fears. He also said he could not imagine his life without Mandela’s examples.
People call him Tata (father) – father of the nation. Madiba ensured that whites were not kicked out of South Africa despite the fact that Blacks, even in their own land, were treated like animals. He knitted differences together. A man who let go of the pangs of the past to step strongly into the future to shape humanity.
“I leave it to the public to decide how they should remember me,” he said on South African television before his retirement.
In one year, we have lost Chinua Achebe and now Madiba, physically. Two people we wish we had more of because of their formidable display of sagacity and deep rooted love for humanity.
Today and forever, we celebrate Madiba and his immense impact on humanity. We celebrate a rare gem. We celebrate a real Man and a Father. I, Didi Nwala, do not want to think of these people as ‘dead’ because they are very much alive in their works and all they stood for!
What do you want to be remembered for? Will your dreams be celebrated one day?
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