The board and staff of Africa political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) deeply mourned the departure of Nelson Mandela, the 20th century greatest freedom fighter and the first democratically elected president of the free South Africa.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol, appraised the departed leader as a gift to geo-political world; Chiakwelu reiterated, “Mandela is the greatest icon of 20th century and the father of modern peaceful negotiations and peacemaking in the world.”
But as we mourn the death of the Great Nelson Mandela, simultaneously we are celebrating his worthy life and achievements that have impacted affirmatively not only in Africa but the worldwide over. The difference he brought to the world cannot be overemphasized as he took the challenge and the mantle to set his home country South Africa free from the bondage of injustice, racism and hatred.
Even with toils and vestiges of apartheid, Great Mandela was not intimidated and never shy away from carrying the burden and yoke of the evil system that apartheid has brought to the people of South Africa. After spending nearly 28 years of imprisonment in the famous Robben Island, he chose not to be bitter. Yes, it was a chosen decision not to be colored with bitterness and rancor. He was not blinded with anger, repercussion and retaliation. He rose against the urge to payback and reciprocates, instead with calm, collection and dignity that were rarely seen in our mundane and fast fleeing humanity he chose to forgive, love and move forward.
Nelson Mandela was the greatest icon of 20th century for he showed us that violence was not the path to peace making as most of the geo-political titans of history were inclined to. The path to everlasting, enduring and sustaining peace can be negotiated and be born-out of peaceful negotiation, concord and consolidating alliance rooted in respect and trust.
Nobody is saying that Madiba as he affectionately called by his close friends and kinsmen was perfect and a saint. Mandela had his flaws just like any other human beings but his special quality lies in distinguishing between the grain and chaff, when to give in and when to hold his fist tight. His greatness lies in his understanding of the psychology of freedom, how to empower the victim and perpetrator without alienating each other. Mandela was magical on bringing the perpetrators of the apartheid to the table of negotiation without preconceive notion on both sides but with fairness and justice as a bedrock.
Another great intellectual and metaphysical makeup of Mandela was his understanding of the politics of race and domination. He knew and comprehended that the white minority South Africans were also victims of the evil system of apartheid. This might be hard to rationalize, being a victim and perpetrator at same time. Mandela knew that white minority were victim of fear and held on to the discredited system out of fear, uncertainty and greed. A leader must be able to counterbalance and neutralize fear with credibility and truth, Mandela was the man that brought to the table the credibility and fairness.
Nelson Mandela has set a powerful example for us and posterity with his exemplary and heroic life. To keep his legacy evergreen the task of the living is to sustain his achievements by protecting them with vigilance and commitment especially for the next generation.