With the passing of Nelson Mandela on December 5th, 2013 the whole world has lost a rare gem and an amazing personality. Nelson Mandela, a man whose mere mention of his name reverberates around the world has finally passed on to glory. When the news of his demise was beamed across the globe, the whole world literally stood still in honor of a man whose extraordinary qualities and achievements will forever remain indelible in the annals of history. For the past two days, this great man has been showered with encomiums and tributes for his service to humanity and the positive change he engendered in his lifetime. But I think Nelson Mandela’s personal sacrifice for mankind is so legendary that no eulogistic exercise in his honor would be easy to encapsulate.
Shakespeare has rightly said it that “some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. In your own case, Mandela, you were born great and your destiny for greatness was never thwarted in the face of extreme adversity. You were an inspiration and your deeds will continue to inspire this generation and those yet to come. Nelson Mandela, you were truly a rare gem, a dogged fighter for the downtrodden, a vociferous advocate of justice for humanity, a formidable and irrepressible fighter for freedom from oppression and man’s inhumanity to man, an enduring thorn in the flesh and psyche of South Africa’s apartheid regime, a passionate campaigner of racial equality and inclusiveness, a man whose vicarious sufferings for his people are unparalleled.
Mandela, I can go on and on to enumerate the lessons you taught the world with your exemplary life, but the ones that perhaps endear you to the whole world are your resilience in the face of adversity and your forgiving spirit despite the brutality and indignity you suffered during your prolonged incarceration. During the proceedings of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, you embodied and personified LOVE and even extended same to your persecutors by your refusal to seek a pound of flesh from those who put you through the greatest human degradation imaginable.
You were fond of saying “the struggle is my life” and you refused all deceitful overtures made to you by your captors aimed at making you abandon your cherished struggle for justice and fairness. Like Albert Einstein would say, you lived a worthwhile life because you lived your life for others. You breathed your last in response to your maker’s call at the appropriate time. Considering all the health travails you went through and in tune with Albert Einstein’s philosophy, “it is tasteless to prolong life artificially……You have done your share and it was time for you to go. You made an exit from this mortal world so elegantly. Adieu Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela the great. Your family, your beloved country of South Africa, the continent of Africa and your numerous admirers around the world all mourn your departure and celebrate your extraordinary life. Rest in Peace.