By Deo Tumusiime
Siabonga uMandela, Siabonga uBaba, Siabonga, Siabonga. Yes, it is such a great honor for those in our generation that have had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in the life and times of Nelson Mandela; a man whose life bestowed hope upon millions and whose death has brought together an entire world.
A hundred world leaders that descended on South Africa this week to bid farewell to Mandela are representative of a mass so huge and innumerable, and this precedent will surpass many generations to come.
I followed through the entire memorial service held in Soweto, and one message was clear; that everyone with an ideal of great value perceived or tested, must cherish it and be prepared even to die for it. To have an ideal, one needn’t be black or white; in government or opposition; and one needn’t hold social status. What is important is the ideal. Nelson Mandela’s idea was a society where all members live together in harmony irrespective of their racial background. Basic as it may sound, this is an aspect that continues to elude many peoples of this world, and for Mandela to have put his life on the wire for this ideal, sets him out of the crowd.
From Mandela’s experience, the whole world is reminded that we are all branches of one stem, children of the same God. We may have our differences in understanding, harbour various egos, be of diverse social standing, but ultimately we all share the same blood, red in colour. Therefore, since we share the same blood and acclaim of God as our true and loving father, we must subsequently treat and behave towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood; and as equitably as possible share this world’s endowments to the satisfaction of every living soul.
Life today has changed quite a lot as human beings continue become more and more stubborn but also careless. Many countries and individuals maintain cosmetic enemies and pride in disagreements as a matter of fashion. In so doing, we breed enmity that erodes the very gist of our human existence. People, people, people; we must tone down and embrace each other as members of one family, lifting up the down trodden and ushering the lowly on the paths we are taking-for we all but share in the same destiny. Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years, innocently so; but upon his release, he pitied his tormentors, silently reminding them that they knew not what they were doing. Today I could see many of them singing praises of Mandela because they half-heartedly know that at a time T, he could be the usher at the gates of heaven. Alas, for the harder hearted souls, for they may overturn at their own iniquities.
And once Mandela’s remains have been laid to rest, no one should dare imagine that it’s the end of an era. The true test of how much we’ve embraced Mandela’s legacy and example, has just began. South Africa may be the epicenter of activity, but every human being, wherever you are, the spirit of humanity as exhibited by Nelson Mandela is in you and requires of you to act humanely towards your neighbor. If you can’t be like Mandela, then be you, but let your neighbor too have a life.
The writer is a Communications Consultant