Except you are unwittingly in a coma or battling with some kind of mental hibernation (of which you need to see a doctor), you would have noticed that Nelson Mandela is dead. I stand in respect for this great man, reflecting on his influence and what the future of South Africa would be like after his death. His presence kept South Africa calm and united. I know the world also shares the same concern with me but that’s a story for another day.
There is almost nobody in the world right now who does not feel the impact of Mandela’s death. I’m on ground to witness this myself here in South Africa. The Tata Madiba banners scattered all over the country as though South Africa changed their national flag over night clearly shows that the nation is indeed mourning. Media stations have been broadcasting Madiba’s documentaries for over two days now, cancelling soaps that have captivated millions of South Africans, including myself. Indeed the world is mourning the death of an icon.
Yet with Mandela’s jingle almost everywhere some people still don’t get it. Some are yet to understand why the world is celebrating this great man. It much has to do with his forgiveness over bitterness and the way he humbled himself for 27 years to study his ‘enemy’ and gain victory through negotiation.
27 years in a man’s life is irreplaceable. It is such a long time. No wonder he came out of prison looking very tired and old. Not everybody can survive such extinction and yet forgive.
For a second, think of what the family suffered when he was behind bars. Or what he had to pass through as a father.
His extinction completely stole away his fatherhood. He never had the chance to raise his own kids. Yet he came out of this mess and still decided to forgive and give back.
What is the point celebrating the life of Mandela if you are not willing to choose love over bitterness and see every moment as a gift to forgive those that hurt you? Only an ignorant man adores what he cannot understand.
Mandela redefined the meaning of courage and sacrifice.
Mandela’s life teaches that forgiveness is the greatest weapon to secure freedom. And this freedom is no easy feat. In his words, “many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires”. What he meant by this was that it takes courage to forgive your enemies. Mandela describes his struggle to forgive as a walk through the valley of the shadow of death which each and every one of us must pass through to bring about freedom and change.
The moment we let go of that hatred and decide to forgive, freedom and change is unstoppable.
Mandela teaches that we can be free but through those uneasy roads that lead to love and forgiveness. According to him, ‘years of imprisonment could not stamp out our determination to be free’ if we are willing to trade our vengeance for forgiveness.
To an extent, freedom comes by walking through that burning fire of forgiveness. It is until we forgive and let go that we are truly free.
“What counts most in life,” Mandela acknowledges, “is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
When next you think of Nelson Mandela and his long walk to freedom, think of the life he led and challenge yourself to love and forgive those that hurt you real bad and resolve to cross that line of boundary for the sake of others.
Forgiveness is really for the sake of others. Because it is truly when we forgive that we free people and free ourselves from the unhealthy guilt of hate and vengeance.
If you cannot keep up with this, please, shut up and keep quiet and stop adoring what you don’t understand.
You know what to do. It’s your choice.