18 July 2008

Happy 90th Birthday, Nelson Mandela

Today, 18th July 2008 is the 90th birthday of this remarkable man – a true icon in our times.

Here is a man who was jailed as a political prisoner for 27 years. Being in the apartheid era, one cannot begin to imagine the treatment he must have endured during that time.

On examining the virtues of “Madiba”, short of writing a book, here are a couple of pertinent points that have come to mind and can be taken as lessons for the rest of us.

A lesson in patience and perseverance

Would you have the patience to wait 27 years for the good that you believe in to come? How many of us would have given up in the first few weeks?

Would you have the stamina to persevere, at whatever cost, until the good in which you so strongly believe, happens?

A lesson in humility

Would you have the ability to swallow your pride for the sake of the greater good of all others? And then, having achieved your goal, would you be able to remain humble and unaffected?

A lesson in staying positive

Would you wallow in self-pity, or would you make use of your situation to develop and grow? (As Mandela did, continuing his studies whilst in jail.)

A lesson in forgiveness

Having been tortured and abused, would you have it in your heart to forgive your ‘enemy’, using peaceful communication as the answer rather than using anger and revenge as your weapons?

For a man to firstly agree to negotiate peacefully during his prison time and then emerge victorious without the need for retaliation is truly remarkable!

Madiba (his Clan name used as a sign of respect, also implying “head of the family”) - the head of a nation and a leader of the world.

Madiba - an incredible role-model. The examples he has set are so relevant for us all. (I almost wish he could live another 90 years at least!)

Madiba - the Madiba of Madibas – co-recipient of The Nobel Peace Prize, 1993 –
Happy Birthday!

(Nelson Mandela’s Nobel speech can be found here.)
(For a full special report on Nelson Mandela, visit here.)
(Jacaranda FM, a South African radio station, and four local musicians recorded a special birthday song for Mandela to the tune of Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday". You can view it at skit.co.za here.)