Fears concerning the degrading health of Nelson Mandela grow daily. His condition has changed from stable to critical to perilous. I think instead of pre-weeping and predicting the inevitable, we could glance at the future where right now, unless real action is taken, we will find better reasons to weep.
Mr. Mandela has been put on life support as tribal leaders reportedly were warned to prepare for his death. On the web, the early ones have starting bidding their farewells and pouring their hearts with comments, tweets and blog posts bidding RIP to Mr. Mandela. Not that I do not share their grief but I think it is a limited response to what is just about to happen Africa. We will soon pause and remember what true moral leadership looks like. In that remembering, perhaps we will re-kindle the idea that such a leader needs to emerge and rise.
It is doubly sad that Mr. Mandela [will have] to go at such time as now when democracy is being attacked around the world. And as much as I would like to see Mr. Mandela live forever as many would and remain the activist he is in heart, I have to face the reality that eventually, life support will stop sustaining the lungs. But his dream and vision for Africa forever are. The problem is that the possibility for reincarnation is nearly inexistent given the lack of apt carriers.
It is sadly true but we live in a generation of Africans who know all the lyrics for the Wiz Kid but cannot describe the late Chinua Achebe in a sentence. The passing of the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe gave birth to this article as I reflected on the legacy he left but that no one can carry. Mandela’s remarkable courage, forgiveness and patience, you only see once in a lifetime if you’re very very lucky. Millions of lives are better because he lived. Few of us will say that at the end of our lives. He doesn’t need to be around to see what’s happening to the world. He set an example and we have in large part ignored it. He laid the groundwork, now its left to us to finish what was started.
To those who wish to cling to him I say you can best do so by following the many fine examples he has set for all of us during the course of his life. Continue to take inspiration from the examples he has set before us all during his time on this Earth. The greatest tribute we can decide to pay to him is to carry to spirit forward. Political tears do not mean anything anymore in this age.
Where will we find heroes such as Mandela has been? We will have to look within ourselves. No one is looking out for us, but us.