As we mourn the death and celebrate the legacy of Nelson Madiba Rolihlahla Mandela we should all take a pause and deeply reflect on what made this tall Thembu Son the greatest icon of the liberation struggle, justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation.
In his unwavering commitment to end apartheid and all manner of oppression and segregation, Mandela sacrificed his own freedom for the freedom of others. He showed us that the greatness of a man is not necessarily measured by what he achieves for himself but by what he does for others.
His deep rooted patriotism for his country gave him the courage to face his jailor eye to eye and say to him, “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. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”
Even after his name was immortalised on the face of the earth, Mandela’s humility and compassion made him leave the pomp and splendor of Presidency and stardom and live a simple life dedicated to tendering humankind and fighting social ills such as hunger, poverty and disease.
Mandela’s love and courage to forgive and reconcile with his tormentors and oppressors reminds us that we should all leave vengeance to the Lord. It reminds us that regardless of how bitter we might get with each other, we can and should summon the natural good in us to look beyond what divides us and instead focus on what unites us as a people.
His journey from prisoner to president reminds us that with resilience and perseverance, good always triumphs over evil, no matter how long or how dark the road might be.
As we mourn this great son of the soil, let us all summon that little Mandela in us to reconcile ourselves with each other, stand for what is right and to contribute our financial, intellectual, physical and spiritual strength to make Zambia and indeed Africa a haven of love, peace, justice and human advancement.
The one question we all have to ask ourselves is what shall we do to build a more equal, non-tribal and non-sexist society where every child, every youth, every man and every woman has an opportunity to be what they want to be.
Prepared and issued by:
Edith Z. Nawakwi