Nelson Madiba Mandela, the first president of democratic South Africa is arguably the personality whose death ??is being??? celebrated worldwide more than ever before this century.? Apart from the hundreds of heads of states, ministers and celebrities who attended his burial service in his ancestral home in Qunu, the media gave him very wide publicity on radio television and print media perhaps more than happen during world cup soccer games or high profile boxing tournaments.
The reason for the high profile funeral for the late Mandela who died at a ripe age 95 is not far fetched
His life and long and difficult match to presidency could be said to be unique. Like Dr Kwame Nkrumah, He is one personality who led a crusade first as an advocate and then a freedom fighter who fought to salvage South Africa from the grip of apartheid governance during which the people of South Africa were ruled by the white minority.? When he was arrested and sentenced to prison term in the roben islands he endured the pain but ?refused? to accept?? ?freedom? in exchange of? ?renouncing his stance against apartheid.
When he was freed through incessant pressure mounted by the people of South Africa and the international community he led his political party the ANC to win majority rule for his people.
Instead embarking on reprisals against the whites who embanked on oppressive rule against the majority black community he devised a policy of reconciliation and equal opportunity for the blacks and whites in South Africa. Today in all they do in parliament, sports education South Africans are seen together irrespective of their color and creed. This is why South Africa in known as a rainbow nation.
Almost all world leaders and high profile personalities who attended his funeral said he exemplified reconciliation, loyalty, humility and integrity. Everyone acknowledge that Nelson Mandela has managed to save South Africa from a bloodbath during and after the struggle for freedom.? All African leaders praise late Mandela for his enviable feat as a leader.? The question to ask is after praising Mandela to high heavens what are the people and their leaders in Africa doing to emulate his examples? Are they prepared to reconcile with their political opponents. Are they prepared to accept criticisms of their policies in good faith without reacting vehemently?
All over Africa from cape to Cairo there are? examples of nations such as Nigeria, Somalia, Mali and guinea where factions are? engaged in civil wars that are claiming lives and installations. Even in the nations where there are no civil wars the relationship between governing political parties and those in opposition are not the best. In these nations both parties are intolerant to each other. Let us emulate the example of late Mandela who was able to live and work with the whites who jailed him for 27 years.
The feat chalked by nelson Mandela is unique yet it does not take anything away from the feats chalked by leaders like Dr Kwame Nkrumah who on the eve of Ghana?s independence? vowed to help free the rest of Africa from political bondage and? Kenneth Kaunda,? Mualimu Nyerere ,? Nnamdi Azikiwe, ??who also contributed towards the independence of their nations.
While celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela let us not compare the leadership styles of nelson Mandela and other leaders to extent of saying who was the topmost of them. Each leader did their best in the struggle for the independence of nations in Africa. While commending all those who helped us gains independence in Africa let us emulate the leadership example of nelson Mandela by holding on to the virtues of reconciliation and tolerance.
BY ALHAJI ALHASAN ABDULAI, journalist