Taking stock of freedom costs – Nelson Mandela tribute

via Taking stock of freedom costs – Nelson Mandela tribute ZimbabweSituation Facebook December 11, 2013  Andrew M Manyevere

It is in times like these that reflection should point us to changing our ways in order to take values of freedom and implement them for the benefit the masses of Africa who still live in poverty. Freedom, a much talked about word has been misused and turned professed good men into treacherous dictators, all for the love of money, fame and honour. The legendary Elder Nelson Mandela has all tributes on battling for the poor than self, for the racially discriminated and oppressed even though he could have content in being better than most. Africa will learn from Nelson Mandela’s journey, more the necessity of action on how to receive and care for the common man for whom independence may so far have meant little except the noise of drums as dictators march their favored ones to so-called hero’s acres.  Which way now Africa may be a fitting tribute for us understanding the painful but worthy while journey of the legendary freedom fighter and hero? The democratic change of leadership to manage Africa should gain us the best of talents in the administration of justice to all, and for all.

Sun is set on South Africa, but a new horizon of hope ushers in for the world. Sleep in peace son of the African soil. Sleep contently in the joy that we all have noted, admired but challenged that learning is slow for those in leadership to accept and willingly change. You became a world citizen and loved humanity consistently and unreservedly. It is a pit that as you rest, restlessness for power contention is gripping Africa.  The result is that nationalism is refining and resistance by old leadership is used as a personal preserve for power control, while putting to shame and humiliation upon ordinary citizens on the continent.

This is not being spiteful on African endeavours to build Africa. It is a fact that has escaped the eyes of those in leadership, yet strikingly true in the eyes of the common man, that keeps being watched and punished least he may revolt permanently. The challenge you have left Elder Mandela is too big for remembrance only as a commemoration. I wish the world take note on how Africa shall TAKE COLLECTIVE ACTION improving leadership styles to respect human and people rights. If Africa, unlike the west, cannot keep growing giants of your stature Elder Mandela, should we blame our systems on governance, our past or the persisting in self-appointed leadership styled in dictatorship? A tall order and challenge it will turn out to be always for the continent.  Yet a relevant inquisition on settlement for a good leadership choice program for democracy denied African countries. These are issues arising as you go to sleep, son of Africa.

Needless to question why all African leaders would not join everyone and say their farewell by your graveside?  It pains though that many of the African leadership and those in the scholarly world show differences in approach and to the cause for action on a strategy for the continent well-being. Sad it is, also, that fear of uncertainty grips many leaders at leaving the country during such an emotional time, since it may be the last time some of these leaders could be in power. It also explains why military has tried but failed being the barometer of correction on poor governance even though the results are not conclusive on benefits that accrue to masses from military redemption efforts. One thing true though, is that if leaders leaving their countries were to be measured by the vote of whether they come back or go to the ICC for trial, the ICC would be unable to cope with cases from Africa. It would not be because all is bad in the continent, but that there is a desperate need for an independent umpire on affairs of governance and power control today in Africa than any other time post-colonial era. It is tragic to think and wonder how many leaders actually will merit their countries support. It should further help explain the understanding why the military budgets on the African continent are the single highest expense in most dictatorial bound countries.

Unlike your time Elder Mandela, most leaders on the continent have acted naively, under pretext they are fighting against colonial influence, by putting both financial and lives of citizens at risk fighting wars that sustained regimes against the wills of their people. You objected to South African military support Congo when Kabila the senior called for it from African Union (AU). The tragic waste of resources then, would not have happen if leaders chose free and fair election as a democratic way to settle and arbitrate on political impasses going on in the continent incessantly.

You spend close to thirty years in prison but never apologized you were wrong to ask for people freedom or change your position. Leadership changes their unwritten position when they came into power, you did not. You retired and left power to able bodied in your country, for the country to live peacefully and stable beyond you and your legacy. We have those who claim the struggle was for them personally to remain in charge till death.  Is it any wonder, that many of our African leaders have turned specialists at self-aggrandizement and building cult-veneration on selfishness than at taking care of the common people? The failure of democracy on the continent appears hanging on the lack of leadership accountability and credibility, creating a massive contribution on dictatorship inclinations and behaviors of corruption.

Those many, among both leadership and ordinary people of Africa and the world, who watch you being laid to rest, and particularly those of African origin at home and in the diaspora; we neither have the full  understanding nor sufficient love to naturally pursue the values which you stood for. Yet many, even those with more than thirty years in power-and they are getting many by the years-never openly fail to praise what you did. Politics cannot be measured from its falsehood, and no wonder we cannot produce thinkers who argue for principles among many of the current leadership.

It is a cause for wonder as to what contribution they can put on the table for many African kids to learn and emulate. The world book stores are filled with literature on their failure than success stories, hence African leadership’s hatred for the western nations despite that they continue asking for financial aid. It is lamentable Elder Mandela that the dead do not come back, no not in this time now; because I believe you would have quizzed on why they continue tormenting their citizens by over staying in power. Death gives us new associates, some of whom we would have preferred not to have nothing to do with were we to meet again.

The strong point is, you were very frank and open on matters affecting human suffering against personal pride.  Most of the African leadership cannot understand the persistent patience in your intellectual reasoning that made you a darling to all levels of humanity; starting with the down trodden, to the intellectuals and finally, to all well-meaning politicians. Is it not amazing that four Canadian Prime Ministers are biding you farewell, including three retired who however had interacted on your case more during your time in prison as well as when you came out? I am not only talking of a one-on-one conversation, but on how much intelligence was employed in Canada lobbying to have you free and negotiate for a free South Africa. You had during your life time acknowledged Canada leadership role in helping South Africa resolve her political impasse.  God has kept these men to witness not only your coming out of prison but your sleeping too. Above all it can only be testimony to African leadership to change their blame-blame approach and be collaborative. Indeed many countries have come with their past leaders. It does not mean they did less or were insignificant, but that Canada broke their rank with other western nations to speak openly on the wrong of practicing and detaining Nelson Mandela longer. Indeed the sub regional groups on the continent including the continent spoke and asked for concessionary terms on your release. This however is no contest of who spoke most or laud but of who stuck to principles irrespective of who they spoke to against apartheid as a system.

I recall you attending the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union-AU) but once. You took a pit at the level of thinking and did not like generally how some country leadership treated their citizens like prisoners. While many African leaders want to talk of their plight under colonial masters, none has been revered most than your story. Unlike many leaders on the continent who have sung songs of self-praise; you sung no songs on your suffering in prison ever, instead the world did it for you.  You portrayed a mind of a man who suffered quietly with a mission clear in his heart even if you were to die in prison. We cannot compare these historical times without feeling guilty, because many of our leaders have failed to implement many of the issues you stood for, particularly your love and passion for humanity.

The advice you gave to many of the leaders on the continent was misconstrued for your failure to be in touch with modern politics in view of having spent many years in prison. This perhaps is the folly of African politics, that we cannot accept one another successes but to dwell for ever on the areas that destroy leadership benevolence and kindness on humanity. You received no single honour from Harare, Abuja, Cairo…or the AU, while the world surrounded you with praise for the actual work on human freedom you shared and took pride in, to serve the prison sentence without any murmur. You did it for the preserve of human dignity. It is for this reason that the world has turned up to come and bid you farewell.

The ordinary South African realizes that a vacuum is opened never again to be filled, in your manner of thinking, tolerance, teaching and pursuit of principle. While Canada displays high quality of leadership that stuck and still stick to principle on human rights, it is this philosophy of human rights respect which has made Canada outstanding in the world today in her none assuming way. Africa almost played down the God given achievement and the unique human care and love you naturally packaged to the world successfully. I pray to God that Africa be more self-promoting for those things which are good even if some of us feel let down and resend it. We can only build leadership from strong opposition of what is not right than from condoning it. The same way the western leaders condemned each other during the debate on what is right and wrong on apartheid, so must we all African leaders speak, fearlessly and without shame or favour, against Corruption and flagrant violation of people rights on the continent. Such is the tribute fitting the stature of a man who worked for the freedom of others by being a prisoner himself. Nelson Mandela and his legacy is that of pointing to the direction.  The direction is of love for one another, for those who look up to us for emancipation than being oppressed.  Farewell Nelson Mandela, farewell son of the soil, farewell soldier of peace, that we will miss you shall be measured by the actions to fulfil the wishes of freedom for all.

People aught to be treated equal even when they have disparities in education, social status, material wealth, political power and have nothing but poverty. People must be treated equal and not trade their freedom with any one for anything under any pretext. This is what I have learnt from the selfless life of Elder Nelson Mandela. There is only one Jesus Christ of Nazareth and what he did, none will ever do. To find someone coming out of prison having served twenty seven years and never make it a cause of why others must give him place above themselves, is something President Robert Mugabe has failed utterly to conceive. President Mugabe is full of contradictions and is known for claiming Zimbabwe to be his personal asset. All these outbursts are known to have been done under pretext of anger against a falsified external invasion plot against him by the British. President Mugabe and Zanu have claimed ownership of the liberation struggle almost singularly as though all our beloved relations and people of Zimbabwe fought in vain.

President Nelson Mandela’s disdain in emotional outbursts on matters of liberation ownership, humbles him and creates for him a place in the minds and hearts of people in South Africa and the world over. Self-imposing imagery of many and current African dictators detracts the continent from contributions to the stature and of characters like President Mandela of South Africa, President Mwalimu J Nyerere of Tanzania, President General Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana…the list could go on but soon ends. These are men who made significant contribution to the nationhood of countries, to the stability and a huge people welfare roadmap. Thank you Africa, thank you principled ideals on freedom sustained by selfless leadership.

Africa has to learn from other nation’s actions so we do not just talk and refer to Mandela in the past. Mandela is more in the future than in the past. Twenty seven years of isolation underline the quest for independence. To unlearn and to undo growing poverty in ill-treating of others and taking advantage of their incapacity, their inability, and at worst, their lack of education; is criminal against humanity. Bill Clinton puts it very well, inter-alia when he says; “He (Mandela) taught us that none of us can ever be free at another’s expense.” (Friday 06, December 2013 MNS News on Famous quotes about Nelson Mandela). African leaders should not enjoy the freedom to acquire more wealth at the expense of the ordinary people in their countries? African leaders need not create deeper rifts in wealth ownership in order to retain grip over power. African leaders need not create oligopolies of power based on tribes and divide the countries into fragments ungovernable and unproductive, so as to impose their draconian control. If our history as a continent will have more names of men and women who share their lives, then Africa will take a lip into the millennium as a developing continent.

For invoking such thinking and dialogue in the world, that you had barely begun implementing; rest in peace Nelson Mandela soldier of peace. Africa need to learn from this humble story.


  • comment-avatar
    Washumba 8 years ago

    Well said unfortunately nobody learns

  • comment-avatar
    Chatambudza12 8 years ago

    You think the thug will learn anything from Mandela’s legacy? Mandela never looted anything from his country though he rotted in prison for 27 years. Had it been Bob things could have been been worse than now!

  • comment-avatar
    careful reader 8 years ago

    What a pity that your literary capacity was not equal to the scope of what you wanted to say. Some helpful editing would have made your communication much more effective.

  • comment-avatar
    Michael 8 years ago

    Diction in this article is so bad that I detracts from message therein.