That one of my greatest hero is gone has become less of a news than the reactions that have followed his death. Yes all over the world, encomiums are pouring in, but more specifically, our leaders here too recognized what a leader he was! Their response has left me wondering; if they knew so much about what leadership meant, why are they not living out those qualities that they praised so that they too could be praised some day? I suppose the best way to mourn this great hero is to replicate what he lived for in our society- his ideals of freedom, justice, selflessness, and so on… ideals that many official mourning days cannot surpass!
I’m compelled to grab my pen because of the question that has gone round since; could there be another Mandela, or could there be a greater than Mandela? May be you’ll say yes, may be you’ll say no. Either way, I suppose you are right.
But I am writing because of the man and woman who will answer an emphatic YES!!! I do not think that there could be more opportunity to have another Mandela than we have in our country.
Everything around gives that man, who will answer YES, more reasons to believe he answered correctly. Just look around well, what other circumstance could aid the birth of a hero better than what we have now?
To those who will answer YES, I should remind you a little about this departed hero. He was not born in the best circumstances; but first he decided to live above his circumstances. That was the starting point; it all started with a decision to be different; a decision not to live and die like every one else; a decision to make an impact; a decision to bring change! Don’t err to think that all he became was just coincidental. No! He made some decisions on what life he was going to live. So to answer YES means to accept the responsibility of taking a decision!
Then, this hero defined what he stood for. He knew that if he was going to be different in his generation he needed to stand for something. Those were his convictions; his ideals. He decided what to live his life for. There could have been no doubt in his mind on what he wanted to become; it was clear to him from the onset of his struggles; he decided to live a life dedicated to the good of humanity. Therefore, a young man who start out in life and fail to define what he will stand for, should never expect to make any meaningful impact in life, may be, not even in his own life! So to answer YES means to own the onus to define what to stand for; to further the prospect of corruption or to fight against it, to add to injustice or to advocate for justice; these are the proves of the values individuals have incorporated within.
May be this is where others have failed; this hero was ready to pay the price for what he stood for; and it was a great price indeed. Nothing good comes for free! Good things comes at a cost. Only those who can pay can have the luxury of owning the goods. If anyone would stand for change in his generation, then he must be willing to pay the price. For the likes of Ghandi and Lurther, it was persecution after persecution, until they were murdered. But they died as legends. For Mandela, persecutions plus twenty seven years imprisonment. For the Dele Giwas and ken Saro Wiwa of our home country, they paid the ultimate price! But all of these people lives on; their memories lives on; their legacies lives on; and I’m tempted sometimes to think that they never died after all! Have you ever thought about it that millions of people have died in the past 100 years, but only very few are still remembered? To truly answer YES is to be ready to pay the price that may come as a result of your convictions.
Mandela is gone for good! It is now left for those of us still alive to choose to decide to make the world a better place; to make our country a better place; to enrich the lives of those who will come after us. It is a task that I believe we can achieve!!!
Our country is in dire need of visionary and courageous leadership and I am hoping that some Youths will soon step up to the challenge!
Rest in Peace, My Hero!!!
This Article was first published December 2013