It’s July 18th, 1918 somewhere in Mvezo, South Africa. The weather changes, birds fly fast to take cover and the world comes to a standstill. A king was born, a world pillar came into this world. Back then, many would have struggled to see the illustrious future ahead of that bouncy baby boy. The boy who through life’s many struggles stood strong and emerged as one of the finest leaders the world has ever known.
Sadly on December 5,2013 he passed on. NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA! South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero. The man of many names including ‘’Tata’’ (Father), ‘’Dalibhunga’’ (creator or founder of the council) and “Rolihlahla” (pulling the branch of a tree). However, one popular name that stands out and is synonymous with this great man of honour is ‘’Madiba’’ which was the name of a Thembu chief who, in the 19th century, ruled over a region called the Transkei in South Africa. Referring to Mandela as Madiba is a sign of endearment and respect. Truly, there is something in a name. This warrior and hero lived by his name throughout his long enterprising yet impactful life. On this day as we celebrate his birthday, let us remind ourselves of some of his attributes that the name ‘’MADIBA” connotes.
A man born in South Africa but known throughout the world. Even in corners you least expect. That is how far his tentacles spread and how deep his impact was felt. Mandela was multicultural. He could fit into any culture in any country at anytime. His leadership went way beyond the shores of South Africa and the African continent. His international recognition is just pure evidence of his adaptability to different cultures and traditions. His award of a Nobel Peace Prize just epitomizes the multicultural nature of this great hero.
A – Ambitious
‘’It always seems impossible until it’s done’’ remains one of the most ambitious statements of all time and to this day, many remember him for this. His courage and vision was probably unmatched by none other in this world. His was willing to succeed no matter the obstacles and always saw the finish line many miles ahead of the rest. For Mandela, reaching his goals were not just about getting there but about eliminating every barrier in his way. He was always pumped up and charged up for the next task. Ambition and optimism shone on his face every time he set out to achieve a goal.
D – Democratic
Being the first black president after apartheid means that he had to lead a country that had just come from a troubled past. Democracy had to an important part of his agenda. To lead the next generation of South Africans and the whole of Africa to greater heights was a tedious task but this man was able to do it. His gentle nature, welcoming persona and positive energy allowed everyone he worked with or met in his line of work free enough to voice out their views. ‘’Madiba’’ always listened and took everyone’s views into consideration. No wonder he was such a great and successful leader.
‘’Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people’’ – Nelson Mandela.
I – Inspiring
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do’’ – Nelson Mandela
Wherever he spoke,whoever he spoke to, one thing was always clear. ‘’Madiba’’ inspired!
With him, all it took was a quote or two. A statement of humour or even a strong clear message from him, had words of inspiration. For a man who believed everything is possible, you cannot listen to him and not feel inspired to do what you have set out to do. Even his life was an inspiration to many. A role model and exemplary leader. Even to this day, many fall back on his words for inspiration. he may be gone, but his words of inspiration still lives.
B – Benevolent
A true humanitarian! Kind-hearted, accommodating and charitable he was. This great man of valour was a people’s person. His love for people and the warmth with which he welcomed friends and loved ones was just amazing. He run many charitable foundations, support groups and donated severally to many causes and projects around the world. Some of the many charitable legacies he left behind include ‘’ONE Campaign’’, ‘’Make Poverty History’’, and ‘’Red Cross’’.
‘’Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity; it’s an act of justice’’ – Nelson Mandela.
A – Assertive
Is there anyone who lived in his generation more confident, bold and determined than Nelson Mandela? Both you and I may struggle to find an answer. He knew what he was about and did everything with precision and attention to detail. He was very bold and articulate in all his dealings and was always determined to achieve great things. Until the task was done and success was achieved, he would never stop. A great attribute that he will always be remembered by.
The ‘’MADIBA’’ story is incredible and a page or two will never be enough to clearly tell the amazing life story of the Statesman. Many years after his demise, his legacies live on. Almost everyday, in various sectors of governance and endeavor, Nelson Mandela is remembered. Whether with reference to a quote he made or to a moment of magic, ‘’Madiba’’ live on even in death. Rest in Peace Son of excellence.
Happy birthday MADIBA!
Credit : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel