Every generation has a leader who not only touches the souls and lives of those around them but the world at large. Tears of joy and sorrow will soak the lands of Africa in memory of Nelson Mandela who was a transformational figure, hero and a fighter. He reminds us of what leaders should be, selfless, unifying, inspiring and gentle. Mandela suffered and sacrificed a lot for the people of South Africa but didn’t ask for much in return.
His life journey from a young man struggling for racial equality– to the prison cell on Robben Island and finally becoming the first black president of South Africa is a testament that nothing is impossible. Mandela leaves a legacy that we can’t forget and his spirit will continue to shine brightly on the great lands of Africa.
It is always fascinating to watch the reaction of the masses after the passing of one of Africa’s leaders. Many often take to the streets not to celebrate the achievements of those leaders but rather the fact that they are gone. Mandela is a different brand of leader– we celebrate his life, sacrifices, courage, perseverance, achievements and ability to unify a nation that had been divided for decades by apartheid. His ability to forgive rather than revenge is what many of us admire about this great leader. He was not only a leader of the African National Congress that fought for the freedom of blacks in South Africa but also an African icon and an inspiration to the world.
Mandela by handing over power after serving one term accomplished what many of Africa’s leaders have failed to do. He demonstrated that democracy and great leadership was larger than one individual. He didn’t let popularity and influence blind him into autocratic rule. Africa’s current and future leaders have a lot to learn from Mandela. His ability to embrace and forgive those who were vicious and cruel exemplifies the core of conflict resolution that is lacking in many of our nations.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”— Nelson Mandela
May His Soul Rest In Peace!