Nelson Mandela was the epitome of bravery, the embodiment of courage, a great man that will be missed severely by the country he fought for, friends, family, and well-wishers. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
If there is anything Nigerians can take away from the life Nelson Mandela lived, it was in the way he focused on his mission to emancipate his people and didn’t stop until he successfully achieved that goal. There are many among us who have a coherent vision for Nigeria but are stifled by a lack of courage. Madiba was a man who started with virtually no one behind him and preached his gospel until he had a congregation of followers echoing his words wherever they could. Start where you are, and if your objectives are in the interest of the people, I have no doubt that you can have a movement as great as Mandela.
With his centenary fast approaching, we are reminded of the difference a man like Mandela made in the world and not just in his home country, South Africa. This difference or impact is something the world can do with in times like this. In celebrating and reminiscing on his legacy, we are challenged to intensify the search for another Madiba so that we can find him or her before another 100 years. We owe him that because of what he gave to us and so Madiba the King can arrive at his destination safely.
He taught us forgiveness, he even forgave his prosecutors, he taught us humility, he taught us endurance, he taught us transparency and good governance, he taught us unity by unifying a nation of races from all over the world.
He left office with nothing but was never in want of anything. This unique, incorruptible man from Africa who was a gift to the world changed his nation for better and thus the world; we must be in a hurry to replace him before he is taken from us forever by the plethora of unremarkably corrupt leaders.
In keeping with Madiba’s humble way of doing things, there will be a low key ceremony to commemorate the centenary with music, dance, poetry and tree planting at the Mandela Garden of 95 trees in Asaba International Airport, Delta State.
The South African Embassy, representatives of Delta State Government, two secondary schools and myself will each plant a tree to bring the number of trees in the garden from 95 to 100 trees. The Nelson Mandela Garden of 95 Trees is a world-class nature resort, established in honour of Nelson Mandela, which offers both tourism and educational provisions to the general public. It is located within the Asaba International Airport in Delta State, Nigeria, and is designed in the shape of the map of Africa, using 95 trees to represent the 95 years of Nelson Mandela’s life on earth.
As we look forward to July 18 with excitement, I am reminded by this quote that, until a man is ready to die for what he believes in, he isn’t truly ready to stand for what he believes in. “I was prepared for the death penalty. To be truly prepared for something, one must actually expect it. One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen. We were all prepared, not because we were brave but because we were realistic.”