Nelson Mandela’s legacy will live on

Africa has lost an icon. Nelson Mandela passed on last evening at 95. The anti-Apartheid hero inspired millions around the world and will continue to do so for many generations.

Africa has lost an icon. Nelson Mandela passed on last evening at 95. The anti-Apartheid hero inspired millions around the world and will continue to do so for many generations.

The world is mourning a departed freedom fighter who led the struggle against Apartheid, a white-supremacist system that would keep him in prison for nearly a third of his lifetime, only for Mandela to selflessly promote national reconciliation upon becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

Madiba, as the departed former leader was fondly referred to, never sought revenge against those who unjustly incarcerated him for 27 years and maintained an awful discriminatory policy against black South Africans for many years, but rather reached out to his former tormentors and put nation above self.

Nelson Mandela may have gone before us but his legacy looms large. He and several other African statesmen embodied the continent’s protracted struggle against colonialism, Apartheid and segregation – a struggle that continues to this day.

While leaders across the world continue to eulogise Mandela, Africans have an opportunity to do justice to Mandela’s legacy by uniting as a people and carrying on with the values and ideals that characterised the lives of our freedom fighters – the struggle for equality, peace and prosperity for all.

While we mourn Mandela, we should also celebrate his life, his enduring legacy. And the best way to do that is to stand up and be counted on the values that he stood for.

The post-Apartheid South Africa has a lot in common with the post-Genocide reconstruction process in Rwanda. In both cases, truth-telling and reconciliation became the hallmark of recovery and healing process.

True leaders unite rather than divide their people, no matter the circumstances. That’s what distinguishes courageous and progressive leaders from all others.

This is the path that all of Africa and the world at large should walk.

May his soul rest in peace.

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