10 December 2013

The World Gathers for Mandela Memorials

It’s raining and pouring heavily in South Africa right now, the same as the tens and thousands of people who flocked at the FNB Stadium including 91 world leaders to remember and honor one of the greatest (if not ever) head of state. It has been five days since Nelson Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg at the age of 95 after suffering from a long fight of recurring lung infection. And the current South African president released a statement "that the man known affectionately as Madiba and had been the father of the people" has succumbed from his illness.

I may not know how he overcame the depth and the breadth of a love that overwhelms hatred but I know for sure that it was his refusal to be consumed by bitterness and resentment that unites everyone, both whites and blacks alike, including his enemies. In fact, he even invited the state prosecutor who put him behind bars, to a dinner then he also appear in the 1995 Rugby World Cup finals by wearing a Springboks green and gold jersey. It was those gestures of bringing about social change that stunned both his loyal followers and detractors, that unified South Africa.

Perhaps, Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography the “Long Walk to Freedom”, which covered his 27 years in prison and his well known quotes “I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days” has became his legacy as someone who changed humanity by fighting against oppression and apartheid. And many believed that Mandela became an emblem of peace by reconciling with individuals who had been the instruments of oppression and deep racial tensions while he was behind bars.

South Africa may have lost its greatest son or have lost a father, but he lived long enough to see the fruition of his dream in dismantling the apartheid system by persuading reconciliation and embracing forgiveness. Nelson Mandela, Madiba or Tata is gone but he has set example about healing pain of apartheid and today the world gathers for Mandela Memorials.

Image from wikipedia.

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