“The height great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while others slept were toiling upwards in the night”………Henry Wadsworth.
Legendary and greatness can stem out from every sphere of life; people can carve out a niche for themselves, become famous or take the world by the storm in one way or the other thereby gracing the hall of fame of that particular area of life or discipline and by extension, write their names on the sands of time in gold. For the man in focus, his was borne out of what you may want to call a successful social cum political career that has seen him standing on the top of the world even at the crown of old age.
In the 22 years, I have lived on this sinful edifice called earth, I knew not a man whom despite the accidents, despite the woes and travails that bloated his rise to the top, was still able to stem the tide of it all, stood his ground and weathered the storm to the skies but the man whom I prefer to call an African sensation. He is none other than Mr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the South African nationalist and African states man whose long incarceration that lasted some whopping 27 years never deterred him in his anti- apartheid struggle but on the contrary was the catalyst needed to propel his rise to the top as he subsequently tool ascension to the presidency in 1994 in fulfillment of the biblical scripture as contained in the book of ecclesiastics to the effect “that a man may rise from poverty to become the king of his country or from prison to the throne” nelson, was a testimony to the latter and which ultimately symbolized the aspirations of south Africa’s black majority while sending the dark ages of apartheid to the vault.
Born on the 18th of July 1918 in that small village of Mvezo in Umtata, Cape of Good Hope South Africa, nelson Mandela was no doubt destined for greatness. Just like the great musician, Ludwig van Beethoven came with music in his soul and Pablo Picasso one of the finest painters the world has ever seen was painting and drawing like an angel in the crib, Nelson Mandela in likewise manner, was predestined to stand out from the crowd. Even though this destiny was delayed it wasn’t in any manner denied or battered. His educational days both at home and abroad were all testimonies to this fact as he always took the class by the storm in his academic boisterousness little wonder, the young madiba as he is fondly called would later take to the Legal profession which was reserved for the best brains at that time and this choice of course proved to be all that he needed to set him at that top which he now occupies today as a world personality.
Joining the African National Congress, the longest serving political party in the whole of Africa in 1944, Nelson Mandela became the Midas touch the party needed all along, his efforts and contributions both physically and mentally were all testimonies to this fact which later led to his being appointed as one of the leaders of the political party 5 years after in order to help in revitalizing the organization and oppose the then ruling National party. Upon trial for treasonable felony in1956-61, his countenances and responses at the long trial no doubt gave his detractors a run for their money as they knew he was going to be a thorn in their flesh. Even though he was acquitted a little later despite admitting to some of the charges leveled against him, he was forced into incarceration for a whopping 27 years which he later said were the most trying phase of his life as a nationalist.
But despite his incarceration struggles and subsequent withdrawal to the maximum security pollsmar prison until 1988 when he came down with tuberculosis, the ever strong madiba, refused to relent in his anti- apartheid struggles instead, he was even ready to die for the cause a testimony which was contained in one of his writings titled “I am prepared to die” sometime in the mid 80’s. Young Mandela continued in his struggles and got the entire blacks of South African hurrying at his back in support which led to his incarceration becoming a cause célèbre among the international community that condemned the wickedness of the apartheid regime.
Upon release from prison, he subsequently became the first black president of south Africa and worked to end apartheid in entirety and bring about a peaceful transition to a non-racial democracy where rule of law was to thrive and the constitution supreme which led to his being awarded the Nobel price for peace together with his political friend F.w de Klerk. The hold on power despite all his nationalist struggles would not be a long one as he refused to seek for a re-election but on the contrary retired from active politics and since then has continued to count his blessings, naming them one by one as the saying goes.
Today at 4 scores and fourteen, nelson Mandela still lives and would continue to live at least until he answers the communal call. He is forever joyed for the blessings of long life and prosperity granted him no doubt because of the goodness in his greatness. His dreams of witnessing the new south Africa has come to pass or what could be more fulfilling than being the first African nation to host a world football fiesta kick started by this African icon two years ago? He combines the following qualities: strength without brutality, courage without recklessness, honesty without priggishness, intelligency without pedantry, humor without frivolity and compassion with the least of sentiments.
Dearest madiba! At a ripe age of 94, you are everything a nation needs and there is no need saying that you have become the face of the entire black continent and the laurels have continued to pour in for you. Mere words, cannot express all that you are to us and I have forever been ill in the knowing of a better adjective to quantify your greatness. As all roads lead to Mvezo, the venue of this year’s celebration, all of us at information Nigeria.org wish you many more returns of this day of your birth celebration. Lit the candles and make merry my dearest MADIBA!!!
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