In commemorating half a decade of President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s passing, we pay tribute to the generations who nurtured him, mentored him, defiantly struggled alongside him, those who were arrested and incarcerated alongside him, those who campaigned for his release; those who negotiated with him and those who triumphantly welcomed him home a free man. All of these contributed to the man he was and the hero and global icon that he has become.
There have been many great people in a diverse field of human endeavour over the past 100 years but few can lay claim to be so universally loved, emulated and praised by such a diverse range of people spanning continents, cultures, and curiosities. I am often asked about what was his most defining characteristic and five years on I would still defer to the man’s own wisdom-he maintained that he was defined by the values, principles, culture and collective wisdom of his political home, the African National Congress.
UTatomkhulu endeared himself to the elders by listening attentively and deferring to their wisdom and he was the darling of children and youth by humbling himself and finding ways to their world and the aspirations that reside within them.
As we remember Madiba we reflect on the great value he placed on self-criticism and the ability to reflect on one’s own position, course of action and taking stock of where we may have made tactical errors or violated the decorum, protocols and values germaine to our African culture. We miss that broad disarming smile that instantly calmed and set you at ease no matter how heavy the burden that you may be carrying.
Nkosi Dalibhunga’s words ring loud and clear “if needs be I am prepared to die! Today, there are many who claim to embrace the Madiba legacy but their actions are found wanting. There are many who would celebrate his life and his passing through life-size statues, busts, exhibitions and concerts. However, few are committed to fight for the voiceless, to stand for the right of the forgotten suffering people of Palestine, Western Sahara, Kurdistan, Kashmir and Myanmar. Where are those who stand by his words that “our struggle can never be over as long as there is a single human being anywhere in the world that is suffering”?
In remembering five years since his passing we celebrate the lessons he taught all of us; he embraced the values of selfless struggle with little of hope of reward, the willingness to stand for what is right and even take great risk of personal suffering without fear of the consequences; and the power of forgiveness.
Most of all we remember he always regarded himself as a servant of the people doing his utmost to give expression to their collective will and aspiration. Over the next decade we shall be celebrating a man amongst men and a hero amongst heroes as we prepare to welcome in the AUs Declaration of 2019 as the beginning of the Nelson Mandela Decade. The Royal House of Mandela, celebrates the imminent arrival of the next 100 years of President Mandela’s legacy.
Aah Dalibhunga, the Legacy lives on! The dream shall never die!!!
HRH Nkosi Zwelivelile
Royal House of Mandela
Eastern Cape Province