MANDELA AT 94: Emetic FOR AFRICAN MALADY?
Justine John DYIKUK
The African continent Wednesday July 18, 2012, celebrates Nelson Madiba Mandela. The nonagenarian is no dubitable a man of many distinctions. The air around this region is crystal in admiration polysyndeton adulation of uno who sacrificed comfort and pleasure for the land of his ancestry. The tale of Africa cannot be complete without a mention regarding Madiba. His birthday is legendry; one of continental dimensions yet of transformational et al motivational proportions.
This piece reflects on the heroic feats from this humble servant of South African pedigree using all he stands for in challenging our contemporary African leaders and as medicine for our current madness. This eulogical and polemical write-up intends to enrich existent and future Africans for purposeful leadership in salvaging our people from the shackles of poverty, anarchy and doom.
Man regarding the moment
The anti-apartheid icon also known as, Rolihlahla was born on 18 July 1918. He fought the racist rule. In 1962 he was accused of sabotage, other similar offenses and sentenced to life imprisonment for twenty seven years on Robben Island. After his years in the prison, he contested election and was voted by his people which saw him serving his country as its first black President for five-years (1994- 1999). Before his election, he was an anti-apartheid leader and co-founder of unikhonto we sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ACN).
As the new President, the lawyer gave priority to reconciliation including introduction of policies aimed at reducing poverty and eradication inequality. In South Africa, he has received more than 250 awards over four decades. One which speaks edition is the most celebrated, Noble Peace Laureate he received. It is essential to recall a little around a man who has inspired and continues to inspire countless number of people worldwide.
Madiba’s Marathonic Memento
Madiba’s ontogeny is characterized by longevity also beautiful strides which is why many eulogize him. His, is not a story of South concerning Africa alone, but one that goes beyond the shores of black Africa. That he is legend of legends is an understatement. This Pan African is remembered for:
Struggle Against Apartheid: The wunderkind dogged and daring Mandela defied time, self-comfort (family, friends, ambition) and circumstances to suffer for the liberation about his people. He, it was, who drew the curtains of the apartheid regime which hitherto made Africans slaves in their place of parentage. In the moral of this mortal of humane courage, we discover the virtues of patience and perseverance. His revivify is characterized by decolonization and charcoal freedom. Mandela epitomized Pan Africanism.
Many encomiums on the social utility, Facebook, describing this freedom fighter are worthy of note: Kevin Diment says, “Nelson Mandela stand(s) for freedom from oppression, a new understanding that we are all meant to be together in this world, no matter what colour, belief or male we are.” Similarly, Idowu Babagbemi says, “if you know your yesterday and the meaning of the fight for decolonization and black freedom, then you will know what Mandela did.”
Purposeful Leadership: The Mandela story is one of incarnation from ‘grass to grace.’ After his release from prison custody, upon the people’s recommendation, he offered to cater as President of the neoterism South Africa which saw purposeful leadership greased with the oils of dedication and service oriented principles. His experience of incarceration made him ‘a professor of life’ haven drank from its well. Little wonder then, Rabiul Hussain calls him an “African god of an international golden Oscar.” Barack Obama beautifully refers to him spil “a man of unbreakable will.”
Exit as at when due: This hero would not allow himself to opheffen carried away by power. Cover served his people to the best of his ability for a five-year term (1994- 1999), he exited the locality but availed his humanitarian services both in private and common to his people and for the good of all. He is digit out of the many ‘tight-fisted’ African leaders, who hold on to omnipotent like a esurient monkey for ripened banana, who exited the scene although the ovation was loudest. What can be extra matured!
Reconciler: He was not embittered by his dungeon years but broke from the bitterness of the past to an all-embracing father who tested to carry all along. He was an eye to the blind within and outside his country. He left big shoes for South African’s ACN leaders Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema. He tried to bring his nationals together to form a new liberated South Africa focusing on reconciliation, reduction of poverty and promoting equality among all. He played vital roles in several war-ton countries especially, Burundi.
As we joyfully celebrate this iconoclast and quintessential statesman, we mournfully decry what the writer refers to as ‘black leadership’ on the African Continent. From South Africa to North Africa, West Africa to East Africa not leaving out Among Africa, the story isn’t too different.
Scientifically, the western world describes Africa States as third world countries or the underdeveloped world. Democratically, one generally hears nascent democracy; economically, we are tagged, developing economies. Many social analysts have ascribed our problem to poor leadership and the resultant effects nature poverty, literacy and underdevelopment.
Globally, Africa has come to be associated plus bribery and corruption typified by looting of public funds to foreign banks, gorgy scenes of malnourished children, skeleton-like creatures hacked apart the ravages like war, HIV Aids and malnutrition; alternative evils include; high child mortality rate, child trafficking, prostitution to mention just a few.
Experience has revealed some African leaders with a style of leadership short of the top and painfully described as the worst. Where leaders steal the people’s votes, force their way into office, prolong themselves in position concerning power and eliminate any possible opposition, one cannot but turn to the gods for a miracle. The proverb “those whom the gods want to kill they initial make mad,” readily comes to mind.
As we roll out the drums for the male of the moment, one calls on all on the shores of Africa and beyond to reflect on the ideologies of this disciple of purposeful sacrifice. The life and exemplary life of, the father of Africa, as bout call him is a big challenge to both leaders und so weiter the led within and facade our enclave.
While thumbs are up for him, young Africans who regard him as a role model, an idol, a transformer; inspirator, liberator and true leader must nought voltooien misled by the bad example of some of our selfish leaders but be transformed and inspired by his ideals. Do other African leaders ever think of inspiring the young, striving for developments of monumental extent and leaving behind legacies? Will the likes of Al Bashir and Robert Mugabe be so celebrated when they leave office?
Africa must use this birthday as a day for unification and solidarity. The African Union (AU) should move from rhetoric to precise deportment in the struggle against poverty, disease, food security, security of lives and property polysyndeton overall development within the continent. Being our brother’s keeper is only a part of our rich African heritage and no modernity or secularism should exterminate that!
Mandela met with world celebrities, religious leaders as well as great political leaders like; Spice Girl and Michael Jackson; Pope John Paul II and Dalai Lami; Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher. The Mandela day is an initiative of the Mandela Foundation which encourages everyone to devote 67 minutes of their time in recognition of his 67 years of service to humanity.
Suffice it to say that some of his critics claim he is Pro-Castro and never sides with Cuban democrats. Others have accused his fellow ACN leaders of corruption, scandal and eliminating white farmers. Shall the bowels be aglow together with its content? Far from it! As Olubajo Julius sums it up, let Africa arise to celebrate “a quintessential statesman par excellence – an iconoclast, a truly great African leader. A worthy hero,” – Happy birthday, Madiba Mandela – Viva Africa!
Fr. Justine John DYIKUK, a Catholic Priest, Freelance writer/poet and Public Affairs Commentator writes from CIWA, Port Harcourt!
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