Mandela’s Legacy

Nelson Mandela “Hayo O Tshwanang Le Yana” Published at OnIslam.net.

As the death of Nelson Mandela reverberates, my thoughts of this modern day prophet help me appreciate what it is to be inspired. Hopes, dreams and aspirations are attributes we all harbour but few are able to realise. Throughout his life, it was patience and forgiveness that drove change which is why the translation of the song sung by Joyce Moholoagae of Mbawula resonate so deeply:

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Hayo O Tshwanang Le Yana
(There is no one else like him)

Mandela’s lifelong struggle focused first on equal rights for black people, and then, strangely, and conversely, equal rights for white people. In trying to correct one injustice, another took place. Yet he remained resolute, determined to find a middle ground and despite his best efforts, anomalies remained. Proof that humankind is indeed contentious.

Still, if we are to consider any person’s legacy, it is less about what they achieved and more to do with what they hoped to achieve. And if we as a people are to honour his efforts, we must progress that legacy with action, equality for all: irrespective of colour, irrespective of race, irrespective of faith, and so on.

It is in this spirit of equality that today marks another sadness. A friend having lost her mother to cancer, diagnosis to death in just a week, today buried her sister after a 20 month struggle with cancer; leaving behind a husband and two young children.

Part of Mandela’s legacy is the importance of being. The right to have your rights as a human honoured, whoever you are. So when I hear the song sung by Joyce above, I am reminded that while there is no one else like Nelson Mandela, there is no-one else like any of the rest of us; the loss of a man who changed the world is no different to the loss a sister, a daughter, a wife, a mother: this was his message.

When we as people realise and recognise the value of individual human life, we take one step closer to genuinely understanding the message of great leaders such as Mandela.

May God Almighty have mercy on those who have gone before us and those who follow, whoever they may be; and may we all be granted the blessing of the highest degrees of paradise, amen.

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