Everywhere you look on the 5th December you will see pictures and quotes dedicated to the late Madiba. At first glance there is nothing wrong with this, retweeting or liking a well edited picture of this hero as a means of paying tribute and then proceeding with our daily lives should seem like ‘enough.’ This is far from it. Yes, Nelson Mandela said many great things in his long and lustrous life but he stood for a lot more. On a day like this one, what we should celebrate; I personally feel this is how he would want to be remembered. We have allowed ourselves to fall into this sad pattern of marking respect for him in a way that is comfortable to us, when in actual fact while he was fighting for the rights of his people, for peace and living in jail there was nothing comfortable about it. Throughout his amazing life Nelson Mandela championed the rights of HIV/AIDS victims and orphans as though they were his own flesh and blood. Before statehood he famously served 27 years in jail yet had the same judge who sentenced him swear him into the office of the President; and this is just the tip of the iceberg. After all of this, he deserves more than just a quote on our social media feeds.
Nelson Mandela was unlike any other African leader we have ever seen. He was not the richest man in his country after his term, he did not try and cling to power once his term was done and he genuinely had the best interests of his people at heart. As Africa rises this should be the way we emulate him. We should demand the same values and principles from our leaders in business and in politics while practicing them ourselves. Nelson Mandela managed to change the status quo in his country by adhering to his beliefs and his vision, imagine what we could achieve if we all did the same thing? Imagine what Africa could become.
Whether or not Africans will heed my call to completely embody Mandela is beyond questionable, but the fact that we still take the time to remember him is without a doubt commendable. It goes without saying, he was a great man.
May you rest in peace Madiba !