Monday, December 9, 2013
NELSON MANDELA, WHY HE STOOD SO TALL.
Icheoku says of all the many things Nelson Mandela did right to deservedly earn the global encomiums being poured on him following his departure, the one thing that stands miles apart is his spirit of forgiveness. Like Jesus Christ he took pity on his traducers and said to them 'your transgressions are forgiven;' and with that he earned an indelible place in the annals of history. Did he forget what happened, no. Did he like every human-being wish he had taken revenge, Icheoku does not know the answer but suffice it to say that Mandela was very pragmatic and tactical in approaching the issue the way he did. Having calculated that his persecutors were still much entrenched within the then South Africa society and that their backers in the West were trigger-ready to respond to save them in case of any anarchy, he called a truce and strategically disarmed both of them in one fell swoop. Icheoku says the reconciliation was more a calculated strategic necessity than a genuine generosity from a magnanimous heart. However no one can begrudge Madiba's judgment and for being that wise under the circumstances of 1990 South Africa.
One other lesson from the life of Mandela is that service always triumphs over wealth. He was not a multi millionaire yet world heads of states and governments are lobbying hard to be part of his final and last send-off BUT only ninety were so far shortlisted and approved to attend including four American presidents. He was not the richest African or African former head of government to amass most stupendous wealth, yet four American presidents are en-route Johannesburg to be part of history that will bid farewell to a man that indeed truly lived a fulfilled life. Madiba's life is a teachable lesson that the wealth one accumulated is not as important as the service one rendered to fellow mankind. Just ask yourself, how many once-lived gazillionaires are remembered today compared to men and women of moderate means and chaste, whose lives were tunneled to helping humanity's lot. Think of Jesus, think of Martin Luther King, think of Mahatma Gandhi, think of Mother Teresa and now Nelson Mandela - all these people shared one thing in common:- they refused to accept the evil status-quo and gave it their all to affect a different outcome and succeeded; and thus left the world a better place than they met it.
So ask yourself today how you would want to be remembered. What kind of legacy do you want to live behind after you are gone? Will it be a person who tagged along just for the juicy life and in order to get along or one who answered or at least attempted to answer the call to change what could be made better. He was described by the United States of America as a giant of humanity; by China as a towering figure born in the African continent and by Brazil as belonging in the pantheon of humanity. Nelson Mandela. like the elephant to the six blind men of Hindu, was so many things to so many people; but above all he was a MAN, a real one indeed.
Remember that Mandela also first freed himself before he was freed by his oppressors and then later re-freed himself one more time. First to effectively mount the freedom campaign for South Africans, Mandela prepared for only two possible outcomes - death or prison; and to do this he divested himself of all his earthly possessions including his wife and children. Once freed from slavery to material possessions, Mandela was finally ready to trek the long treacherous road to and for freedom. Like Jesus said that it will be difficult for a rich man to make the kingdom, it is also always difficult for a man of butter and bread to do the heavy lifting that is fighting for freedom. The threatened always employs every tactics known to man to break resolves including drying the wells that water the fortunes of the vanguard as well as coming full throttle after his wife and children. Mandela was fully aware of this, so he helped make the job easier for the apartheid oppressors by telling them that he didn't care anymore. He was later freed after twenty seven horrendous years stay in a six by six prison cell and then he returned the favor by freeing himself of bitterness and anger by forgiving those who wished him ill.
Also another lesson learnt from Mandela is that being different is okay because if you blend in then you become invisible and nobody will remember you; as you become an ordinary footnote to be mentioned as an aside instead of the topic or headline for daily discussion. Mandela also thought the world that being principled is a virtue and that you do not have to always agree and be agreeable just for the simple convenience of being acceptable by the society. Finally that one can become the lone hollering wolf in the wildness of a society of compromised lot and let posterity be the judge. Mandela refused to be a company-yes-man and also refused to sellout on his people and for this reason, his people are celebrating the ever fulfilled full life he lived. He stood up for his people and today his people are once again standing up for him as his feet yielded its last strength and cannot sustain his weight any longer and forever. Icheoku wishes that world leaders particularly those within the African continent can imbibe 'Mandelism' in their approach to governance so that they can transmute and become leaders and not just presidents and heads of state. Icheoku prays the lessons of his life will not be lost on present day political leaders or interred with his now transformed body. What a charismatic and enigmatic man that walked this earth. Adieu Madiba.