By Deo Tumusiime
As the world mourns the passing of one of the most revered human beings to have lived on planet earth, many may be looking at him as a divine or super being.
The story of a poor village boy from Qunu that lived a very stubborn and eventful life, that got him incarcerated for 27 years at the Robben Island, is as intriguing as it is true.
It is a tale of a journey of faith and a practical manifestation of the Biblical Mustard Seed. Poor boy did not need to have fighter jets in order to win a battle that many world over thought was more than just a mountain to climb-it was a replica of little David flooring the giant Goliath.
When I was in South Africa in 2012, I could tell how much the man was truly loved. Watching black South Africans walking side by side with their fellow whites, eating in the same restaurants, driving in the same cars and attending the same concerts, was such a great sight that was a dream-come true for many.
Of course given the White man’s superiority, he still controls a significant chunk of the country’s economy and social infrastructure, but at least many people can fairly call South Africa home, thanks to Mandela’s achievement for the country.
Mandela’s death must never be seen as an end to an era, but rather the beginning of an era. Yes, Mandela was human like you and I; eating the same food as we eat, breathing the same air, speaking our language, with red blood like yours and mine and born of a woman like you and I were.
What this means is that you and I can emulate him, stamp similar footsteps or at the very least, walk in his footsteps if we choose to.
South Africa is still generally plagued with snippets of the very challenges for which Mandela sacrificed his life, and how sweet it would be in his memory, if those still living today did their best to fully realise Mandela’s dreams!
Some people have been quoted as saying that it costs blood to redeem a nation. I have never believed this notion, especially considering that there’re a mouthful of options available to achieve the same goal using peaceful means.
Of course South Africans could have opted to pick up guns, pangas and machetes to drive the apartheid regime off their land, but Mandela chose the softer approach soon after he was released from prison and engaged in talks with his counterparts, which later resulted in the glimmer of hope South Africa has enjoyed for the past few decades.
He initiated the image of the Rainbow nation to depict that despite their difference in colour, South Africans were nonetheless one people.
This is an aspect that all peoples of the world must embrace- and if anyone needs a rude reminder of this reality, seeing Mandela’s lifeless body lying in a coffin should be enough manifestation that no matter how important one may be, a time comes and one has to give way. So why not live and let others live?
So, how can one be like Mandela? If you think it is one of the most difficult of things to achieve, simply read his biography, and thankfully there are quite a number of people still living today that can attest to the unquestionable humanity of Nelson Mandela.
Driven by absolute desire to redeem his fellow human beings, Mandela put pride aside and chose the most basic and unselfish approach that has now made him one of the most important human beings in our generation.
Mandela may be physically gone, but I am optimistic that the memory of him and his achievements will remain engraved on our minds for many generations to come.
Adieu Nelson Mandela; Fare thee well my Hero.
The writer is an international communications consultant