A yardstick definition for Legend.
So, its been roughly a year since my last post. Granted, I created this blog out of boredom and a little too much free time, but today I find myself with something I feel I need to say.
The 5th of December 2013 marked the passing of a truly legendary man, Mr Nelson Mandela. Now while I may not be a history or political boffin, I’ve read many articles today that made me realize what an impact this one man has made on the world. This is my opinion of him0, not just as an icon to a nation, but as a remarkable human being.
Of course, he changed the path of South Africa’s future immensely. We know the story well, as we’ve heard it year after year in school. He helped to fight the apartheid regime, first peacefully and then as the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe which began to violently fight back against the apartheid government. He was arrested afterward and sentenced to prison where he spent the next 27 years. He was released, and elected to become the first president of a democratic SA.
Now, I hope you’ll forgive me for that bastardization of a truly heroic part of history, but to me there’s more to the story.
I was woken up by my mother this morning (“Wake up. Nelson Mandela has died”) and as my brain slowly began to work, I switched on the radio. 5FM had a steady stream of people who were calling in a telling little stories about Mandela. A fair few of them broke down while speaking and I found myself getting teary eyed as well (which happened one too many times as the day went on).
One of the ladies that called in spoke about how he saw her at a hospital, came up to her gave her a hug and prayed for her before her operation. From what she said, he did it sincerely, on his own accord, and without any ulterior motive such as publicity. He genuinely cared about people and his humility was absolute. You can almost never find people like this today.
How could one man mean so much to so many ? His simplest acts were his greatest, and his quite words of comfort and peace meant more than any profound quote he may have said.
He was much more than a politician and a man in a position of power. I find calling him a “politician” a slight insult (considering what we currently have for “politicians” in this country). He was so much more than that.
“Today we lost not only an international hero and a symbol of the resilient human spirit, but also the very first political figure ever who people actively wish was still alive and affecting world affairs… Nelson Mandela’s death is the only one on record that people everywhere unanimously agree has left the world notably worse off. I miss him, we all miss him—and that’s entirely unprecedented in the world of politics” Wallace M. Delaney – political historian
His influence over the world is amazing. When last have you seen so many international organisations and personalities paying tribute to a man that ACTUALLY deserved it ?
Omni Hotel in Dallas
The Eiffel tower lit up in commeration of Mandela
Of course, being 19 years old, I never truly knew apartheid or “the struggle”. To say I “feel the difference he has made” would be a lie. But I do see the impact that he’s had on the people of our country and the entire world. He went against impossible odds and united a nation almost 20 years ago and time and time again since. Now, even in death, we find ourselves a country of people mourning together.
Good people die every day and not a single thing happens. When a celebrity dies,people get caught up in the hype and emotion (much like I am now) and messages of “RIP” and “We’ll miss you forever” pour in through your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Most of the time, we mourn for them not really knowing why. I wish all these people would take a second to really realize what we have lost and to find some meaning between their copy and paste words. We’ve lost a truly good human being. One of the very few of them left.
I think Mandela will mean something different to everyone. To me, he was an inspiration. Even now, he inspired me enough to put my random thoughts into words. He was person that I would aspire to be like. A person that suffered and endured for something he felt would help others, and to me that bit is incredibly important. People fight for many reasons and causes but when is it ever to help someone else ?
He was a man that forgave so that reconcilliation could happen, even though he did not particularly have to forgive his oppressors. He faught not just for a change that was needed but for peace and equality. He helped an entire country and all its people move forward from a dark time and through a difficult transition period. He reminds us that there is some faith in humanity left.
Be at peace, Mr Mandela. You’ve done your bit for the world.