Nelson Mandela has left us with a great legacy which should guide us in everything that we do for the good of all the people. It is a legacy befitting of emulation not only in words but through progressive deeds as we strive to make the world a better place to live in. As we remember this colossus icon we should bear in mind that his was a true reflection of the human spirit.
The narrative of “Africa Rising” should indeed find resonance in the realm of productivity and progress for the peoples of the world and Africa in particular. We are therefore called upon to illuminate through positive deeds the ever glowing legacy of this great giant of peace, reconciliation and economic development. Nelson Mandela stood for justice for all and it will be to injure his principles if we were to abuse his legacy for personal gain.
In his farewell speech to the first democratic parliament of South Africa on the 26th March 1999, he said:
“To the extent that I have been able to achieve anything, I know that this is because I am the product of the people of South. I am the product of the rural masses who inspired in me the pride in our past and the spirit of resistance….. I am the product of Africa and her long cherished dream of a rebirth that can now be realized so that all of her children may play in the sun”.
It is worth noting the depth of his selflessness in the texture and tone of this speech. His ability to relate to the people unconditionally is a hallmark of a great leader. Nelson Mandela belongs to an equally indomitable legion of contemporaries which includes: Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Oliver Tambo, Kenneth Kaunda, Albertina Sisulu, Julius Nyerere, Helen Joseph, Sekou Toure, Yusuf Dadoo, Ahmed Ben Bella, and many more heroines and heroes of our beautiful continent.
Guided by the policy of his organization the African National Congress Nelson Mandela was a true Pan Africanist in deeds and words. He remains to this day since his passing a lodestar that continue to hold democratic South Africa together. The youth of our continent should pick up from where this icon left and pursue a progressive path towards Africa’s prosperity. The unity of Africans is more than necessary to rebuild our beloved continent. African governments and their leaders should make it possible for this to happen by facilitating platforms of engagement necessary to reclaim our place in history.
Nelson Mandela centenary commemorations are an important platform and a reminder that we have got a duty to keep our continent united and prosperous. It is therefore necessary for Africans to ensure that this gesture of honour becomes a daily practice not only to Nelson Mandela but to the many other African heroines and heroes who paved the way for the continent’s total independence. The beauty of Africa rests in her people, culture, art, poetry, music and humility.
It will be a good thing to have museums displaying Africa’s worth and heritage in all the major airports on the continent and cascades them down to villages where the remnants of our great heritage are still in display. Our writers should devote more time to consciously documenting our heritage. We should be able as a continent to stage festivals about our heritage. The Pan African parliament should find a way of making this a reality.
The legacy of the great Nelson Mandela should therefore serve as a solid platform to ensure that such is achieved. As we celebrate his legacy we should ensure that it is protected and not abused. Every action associated with this noble legacy should be about the people and not narrow personal ambitions.
If his legacy is able to unite the peoples of the world it is quite obvious that it is equally capable of harnessing the unity of Africa. Our continent is indeed indebted to preserving this legacy, build reconciliation, peace, unity and prosperity. May the spirit of Nelson Mandela live long!
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Politics & Governance