December 10, 2013

The best tribute to Mandela

Tue Dec 10, 2013

SEARCHLIGHT joins the rest of the world in paying tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a man whom we consider one of the most outstanding figures of the 20th century.{{more}}

It is difficult to think of another world leader who ended his or her life as well loved and respected as Mandela was, even among those born after the dismantlement of apartheid.

In today’s edition, we feature Mandela on pages 6, and 13 – 16; with more features and tributes to be published our Weekend Edition.

Among the tributes included in today’s publication is one contributed by history professor, Vincentian Dr Garrey Michael Dennie, who served as one of Mandela’s speech-writers in the years immediately following his release from prison. Dennie was uniquely placed to observe the power struggles within the African National Congress and the wider Black community in the early 1990s, and how Mandela was able to inspire others to turn away from armed struggle to a peaceful negotiated end to apartheid.

Had Mandela taken a different approach on release from prison, the story of the South African nation, post 1990, would, we strongly suspect, have been different. Mandela, while imprisoned, had ample time to reflect and consider the wickedness done to him and his fellow Blacks in South Africa, and how he should respond. He was robbed of 27 of the most productive years of his life. He lost more than his freedom; he also lost his marriage and the pleasure of seeing his children grow up.

He, however, made the choice to forgive those who had wronged him. He has said that on leaving jail, he had a choice. He could continue to be resentful of his captors, or he could forgive them. He said he decided to forgive them, for had he done otherwise, they would have still held his heart and head captive.

The best tribute we of this generation and those to follow can pay to the man, the freedom fighter, the statesman, father of his nation, would be to emulate him, to show that we have learnt from his example. Bitterness and a vengeful sprit ultimately destroy the one bearing the grudge. Reconciliation and forgiveness allow for the restoration of the soul.

SEARCHLIGHT expresses sincere condolences to the family of Mandela – his widow Graca Machel, his children, grandchildren, former wife Winnie, the extended family and the people of South Africa. To his family, thank you for your sacrifices so that the world could be a better place.