When Nelson Mandela sauntered unconditionally from prison to freedom in February 11, 1990, one of the remarkable things he said was that he wanted to be freed. Not only being freed from his harrowing 27 years in prison, but free from harboring revenge or animosity against his jailers and his enemies – defunct apartheid government of South Africa and others across the world. According to him, you cannot be a free human being if you cannot forgive.
Nelson Mandela epitomized the conscience of the world; author of human rights, dignity and compassion. A hero for the ages and a founding father of democracy in post-apartheid South Africa. Mandela represented the protest of the ’80s and the forgiveness of the ’90s and beyond. Mandela was an enigma who believed that one love in your heart can neutralize millions of hatred. A quintessential being who built trust in man rather than himself.
He was a people’s warrior and a valiant. He never feared the brutality of Apartheid, stayed strong and he remained focussed in his historic struggles for emancipation of the people of South Africa. He also remains an icon of inspiration to millions across the globe. As Shakespeare said in one of his books that: ” Cowards die many times before their death, but the valiant never taste the death but once”. Mandela doggedly espoused this quality with consistency throughout his lifetime. A fearless and courageous man who exemplifies the goodness of man; and man humanity to man. He left indelible footprints in the sand of time.
Mandela was also a believer in understanding instead of grandstanding. A political genius and prolific writer with big heart; larger than life persona who championed equality, peace and compassion for all irrespective of race, color, sex, political affiliation and religion. He will be remembered simply for who he was and fought for. Nelson Mandela’s symbolic government of inclusion was a catalyst for a united South Africa. We only hope his death will rattle and shake the mindset of hedonism of political leaders in Africa.
Most African countries including the present government of South Africa are bedeviled with rogue leaders. Mandela is the antithesis of what they stand for. There are so many things to be learned from his legacy by African leaders including Nigeria. Amongst which is service to the people that elected them to serve. Good governance is the greatest legacy a leader can bestow on his or her administration. Mandela lives on.
May his revered soul rest in perfect peace.