Apologies for being MIA, both my personal and work commitments have kept me very busy these last few weeks making it difficult to be consistent. I now walk around with a notebook and write down any ideas/topics/ that cross my mind as potential blog posts. The book is well on its way to being full, except I have not had the time to post: sad reality of adulting, lol! Anyways, today is special and I simply could not allow #Mandeladay to pass without celebrating it with ASA and my readers. If you do not know who is Mandela (hmmmm….not sure where to start, shame on you maybe?! Lol! ).
As many people (South African especially) dedicated 67 minutes of their time to doing “something good” to honor Mandela, I could not but ponder on this incredible man: what he sacrificed, what he taught us, what he stood for and what he achieved… and wondered what he would say to us “the youth of today” if he was still around. Would Tata Madiba (how he is affectionately referred to in South Africa) look at us now, and say we were worth the 27 years he spent in Jail? What can we do as a young Africans to honour and live the legacy of this incredible man better?.
The more I pondered, the more I realised how difficult answering the above would be-it is not a straightforward answer. I am comforted by the fact that I know three things for sure (i) Madiba loved Africa and Africans, his love for it has definitely inspired me and others to do the same proudly and boldly, (ii) I hope that looking down on us he would definitely believe that the 27 years in jail were worth it….for all its fault, South Africa is a beautiful country and many MANY people of all races but especially of colour, women, homosexuals have benefited from the establishment of its first democratic regime that embraced diversity in 1994, (iii) I can almost hear him say to us “I gave you freedom, please use it wisely and take Africa further….I did this for you and I believe in you”.
I don’t know about you but I found that news lately have been particularly difficult: the attacks in Nice (France), the unjustified shooting of black men in America (and the sometimes negative response to #Blacklivesmatter), #Brexit, the war erupting in South Sudan, etc etc. SA news are not particularly any better, with the battle of politicians ahead of the municipal elections-leaving the SA youth very angry and feeling robbed of a brilliant future they were promised, and trapped in a vicious cycle of helplessness.
As we look up to this incredible man to celebrate him, it is up to us (African youth of today) to learn from his values… the way he carried himself, his relentless faith in a better future and humanity, his incredible optimism even in the face of adversity as well as outspoken support for an educated youth. In the words of Frantz Fanon, “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity.” If he was still around today, Madiba would be challenging us to look beyond the darkness/ugliness around us, have hope and work towards his dream for a united, economically stable and peaceful Africa.
I see three things that we, as young Africans can do: (i) strive/lobby for education for all, (ii) work relentlessly hard to solve our continent’s problems (be it through business, hobby,charity, etc) and (iii) get to know our continent’s history better and re-fall in love with it.This is the Africa he fought for, and the one he is challenging us to establish today still.
I hope you enjoyed this post & Happy Mandela Day again! I would love to hear from you on whether you ever met Madiba, read about him and/or key lessons learnt from him… or going a step further -assuming you did know that today was Mandela day, what did you do/whom did you spend it with and why?
Lots of love until my next post