Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013
e knew it was coming. He was old and has been very ill. We rehearsed it in our minds and thought we could imagine how we will feel when it comes. For a time, journalists laid siege in the hospital where he was being treated expecting to capture the news of his death for good television, but it was not going to happen in in the dramatic way the journalists expected. Then he went home and was in the comfort of his home, at the appointed time, surrounded by the members of his family, he went the way of all men.
The crowd gathered around his house and sang as the news emerged. Very rarely, in the history of the world, has so many people owed so much to one man, who suffered so much. No doubt, Nelson Mandela was an extraordinary man in all its meaning and ramifications. He was a man of destiny, who came, saw oppression, bigotry and tyranny, rejected them, and found justification for the use of violence in the face of tyranny. Then while in the jail of his oppressors, he realised the limit of violence as a response to evil and he became a changed and better man. He found his humanity and learned that only forgiveness can heal the pain of injustice, prejudice, oppression and any evil men can inflict on the weak or strong.
Mandela was in deed a colossus. He had the strength and meekness of Moses, the forgiveness of Christ and the courage and humanity of David. Yet, in every respect, an ordinary man subject to all the weakness that afflicts men. He demonstrated for all time, that no man need be a saint to do what is right and love his neighbour as himself and that in deed, a good Shepard lays down his life for his flocks. No one needs to be a saint to forgive and seek reconciliation through tolerance, justice and equality under the rule of law. He was godly, yet not religious. Mandela is a man the world will remember with gratitude as long as it last, long after it has forgotten the names of his oppressors and jailers. Not for his money, his cars, his university degrees, private planes, his private library, private university or big mansion on a hill. Not, for becoming excessively rich because he lead his country. In fact, not for any of the reasons Nigerian leaders are destroying Nigeria, but for realising that all men, irrespective the colour of the skin, religion and ethnicity, are brothers and sisters, and for seeking to assert the freedom and dignity of his people to be treated as equals in a country; which they shared with those who they welcomed: but who turned to oppress and enslave them. Mandela would be remembered because in his life time, he realised that conflicts and poverty are man-made and that man has all it takes to end them.
Mandela is the nearest our generation being will see to a true saint. His generosity of spirit, his determination, his respect for human dignity and his capacity to inspire for good are unequal. He was the moral conscience of his time. He is indeed one of the greatest men who ever lived.
As a black man, I have no difficulty comparing the history of South Africa and the struggle against apartheid with the history of the Israelites in Egypt and their liberation by Moses and can easily write. And it came to pass that the people of South Africa sinned against the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of the white Afrikaners. For more than forty years, the children of South Africa suffered in the hands of the whites Afrikaners. The Afrikaners imposed an apartheid system of government and enslaved the children of South Africa in their own land. They used their princes and strong men as labourers in the gold and diamond mines and their women were servants to the Afrikaners. The Afrikaners treated the children of South Africa like animals.
Then, it happened that the prayer of the children of South Africa came unto the Lord. The Lord hard the cries of the children of South Africa and the words of the lord came to Nelson Mandela. Moreover, the Lord told him that He would deliver the Children of South African from their bondage if he fears, worships and keeps commandment.
The words of the lord came to Nelson Mandela, arise go to P W Botha tell him that the time has come for him to end the apartheid system of government and treat Black South Africans like Afrikaners. Nelson arose and went to P W Botha and told him that it was time to end apartheid and for whites and blacks to live as equal citizens of South Africa. However, P W Botha said, “who is Mandela that I should listen to him, is this not the South Africa which white people have built. What are black people that we should treat them as equals”?
Mr Mandela then joined the African National Congress and the blessing of the lord was with Nelson Mandela. He prospered and was elected as one of the leaders of African National Congress ANC. Then, it happened that the ANC started arm struggle and Mandela became a wanted man by the government of South Africa.
And it came to pass that one day, when Mandela was hiding from the South Africa government that he met a damsel called Winnie. She was very beautiful to look at, for she was a very beautiful damsel. When Mandela saw her, her beauty smote him and he desired her more than anything in the world. He took her in his arms and laid with her.
Then the anger of the lord rose against Mandela for he has laid with a damsel and forsaken the wife of his youth and did not care to keep the commandment of the lord. The lord turned his face from Mandela and it came to pass that Mandela was taken captive by the apartheid government and he was tried for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in Robin Island.
For several years, Mandela languished in prison and then he prayed unto the lord. Then he confessed his sins and said, “Have mercy on me oh lord according to your loving kindness. Forgive the transgressions of my youth for I was conceived in sin. Give me a new heart and create in me humility that I may also forgive those who have so cruelly treated my people. Then I shall show the world that we are your people who are called by your name and loved from the beginning of the world Amen”.
Then it came to pass that in the twenty-seventh year of Nelson Mandela imprisonment, when the suffering of the black people of South Africa became unbearable, that the prayer of Mandela came unto the Lord and he appeared to him in a dream and said to him. Fear not Nelson, you will not die in prison; you will be the first black president of South Africa. I the almighty have heard your prayers and the Cries of your people have come unto me. Arise prepare for freedom, for I have prepared F W de Clerk to listen to the things you will say about the freedom of my people.
Then Mandela arose, shaved his beard, put oil in his head for the Lord has heard his prayers, and ended the years of captivity of his people. And it came to pass that Mandela was released from prison and he became the first black president of South Africa as the words of the lord said. The people of South African had freedom and there was prosperity and peace in the land during the reign of Mandela. Adieu Nelson Mandela, I hope the world would remember that all you wanted to be remembered as is as ‘the man who has done his duty on earth for all’. Rest in peace Nelson Mandela, great son of Africa, citizen of the world, the man who overcame tyranny with love and forgiveness.