14 May, 2012

“Let’s forget the negatives and appreciate the sacrifice.”

Sphelele Ngubane
Born in the valleys of Qunu, a small village in the middle of beautiful mountains of the Eastern Cape, Dr. Nelson Mandela remains the world’s iconic leader.  The 94-year-old Mandela is well-known for his profound sacrifice he made for the liberation of South Africa (SA).  In his first public speech after being released from prison, he assured people: “....I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.....”

Hiding and trying to run away from the police, Mandela was arrested by police in Howick, a town in KwaZulu Natal.  It was the 5th of August 1952 when his independence landed in the hands of the apartheid government.  On 1964, it became a black day for Mandela and his family. He was sentenced.  But his imprisonment in the Robben Island is a result of what SA is now.  It is a free country.

People have a lot to say about the retired president of SA.  They seek a platform to air their appreciation to Madiba.  Many have positive but there is also a few with negative feelings towards him.  In the vicinity of Durban, many interviewed have spoken around the element of sacrifice.

“When other men were working for their children, the father of six remained in custody for 27 years, with a dream that one day SA would be freed from the “ruthless” leaders that believed in separation,” said Melizwe Khomo.

The 23-year old said 27 years in prison may seem short when being read about in books but in reality it is extremely long.

Khomo, a Durban University of Technology student, believes that people should forget the bad side of Madiba and start cherishing the good.  He said people should not act like the media which says bad news are worthy than good news.

“Life is too short we cannot camp around the negatives of people’s lives but we should celebrate the good......what is the use of speaking bad about Madiba while the whole world loves him?” concluded Khomo, his facial expression and hands gesture posing a question.

Flashing back at Mandela’s hardship, he experienced his first divorce in 1957.  He had been married for 13 years with his first wife: Evelyn Mase.  Amongst the causes of their divorce, one is said to be Mandela’s constant absences and devotion to revolutionary agitation.

The absence also went for his children.  Mandela missed both good and painful moments of his family: One being the death of his son; Thembi.  He could not also attend the wedding of his daughter; Zenani.  The daughter was getting married to Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini of Swaziland in 1963.

“I suppose the current leaders we have here in South Africa can walk in the footsteps of Madiba.  He has created a path they can follow,” said Lu-Anne Thomas, a Political Science student at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Thomas criticised the way politicians in our age handle the country.  She said during the struggle, people were in oneness.

“Nobody had a spirit of ‘I’ but they were together......”

Thomas boldly said that the politicians are now working for their own benefit.  Thomas’s dream is to have a school of politics where she will groom upcoming politicians in the values of Mandela.

“I would teach about sacrifices, dedication, passion and a lot that Mandela portrayed as a leader.”

No one ever dreamt that Mandela would be released from prison, neither him nor his family.  When he was captured, it was seen as the end of his road in politics.  Less he knew that being in the prison was a way of questioning his passion about the liberation of South Africa

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