NELSON Mandela, the international icon who died on Thursday night after battling pneumonia and lung infections for nearly six months, deserves the legendary stature he is enjoying even in death.
When Tata Madiba emerged from prison after 27-years of incarceration, the expectation would have been for him to pursue revenge and retribution politics against his racist apartheid oppressor, but like a true statesman he chose to let bygones be bygones.
His detractors lashed out at him with some labelling him a traitor for appearing to embrace and accommodate his jailers.
As the world continues to mourn Tata Madiba, it is our humble submission that he has truly done his duty on earth and has done so to the best of his abilities after being laid low by old age and illness.
South African President Jacob Zuma put it this way:”Our nation has lost its greatest son.” It is not only South Africa’s loss, but the entire world as evidenced by the global grieving.
His exiting the political scene aged 85 in 1999, paving the way for former president Thabo Mbeki, probably ranks as one of the rarest examples of generational renewal in African which should be an envy to some of our liberation heroes.
We agree with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai who noted in his condolence message: “Madiba passed the endurance test and sent a great lesson that the predicament of an individual is subordinate to the cause of a people. That a man could spend 27 years in prison and still maintain his humility and capacity to forgive is enough testimony to the greatness of the man the world has lost today.” Indeed his tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.
Zuma said: “His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him their love.”
Mandela is one of the most extraordinary liberation leaders in Africa or any other continent.
To buttress the point that Mandela is an international icon who deserves legendary stature, United States President Barrack Obama rightly observed in his condolence message that the world would “not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again”.
This is probably true with the calibré of selfish politicians particularly in Africa and the so-called Third World.
Rightly or wrongly Tata Madiba has been portrayed as a sanctified image, a saintly figure and faultless father of the Rainbow nation.
“I would like it to be said that, ‘Here lies a man who has done his duty on earth.’ That is all,” Mandela said, when asked how he would want to be remembered. But hate him or love him, Tata Mandela goes to the grave on December 15 as a figure of historic importance. Kamba Kahle Tata Madiba and rest in eternal peace.