The next Nelson Mandela
The media has been in a frenzy trying to obtain rights to Mandela’s funeral when he dies. There has been an ongoing debate about whether it is right to purchase or sell the rights of Mandela’s funeral. Others are strongly opposed to media houses planning their broadcasting schedules in anticipation of the fateful day when Tata, Nelson Mandela eventually passes on. He is human and will eventually die at some point, hopefully no time soon, but sentiments are mixed about how to handle this event. Others feel that is disrespectful to plan or even think about his death, while others feel that it would be dishonorable to give him a hasty unplanned media send off. The media obviously has no say in the actual proceeding of the funeral, but they can plan about how they will respond to the death.
Broadcasters from around the world have already paid neighbours in Orlando East large sums of money so that they can pitch their tents in their yards and broadcast from as near as possible. What is evident is that the man has changed our generation in an incredible way, not only by leading South Africa to freedom, but the grace and dignity with which he lives his life has changed the world. He has touched our lives and has been a great icon for this age. Will this generation ever see such outstanding character, such focus and selflessness? Not many stop and think about another person for just two minutes and only a handful would put their lives on the line for another. I wonder whether we will ever see such an exceptional man like Nelson Mandela in the years that follow. With determination he set out to bring justice into an unjust situation. With great fortitude, he rose above the challenges thrown at him and determined to unflinchingly pursue that which he believed.
His fight for justice is similar to that of Martin Luther King. As I read Martin Luther, I can see the same drive, determination and courage that Nelson Mandela demonstrated. “Let me say that if you are tired of demonstrations, I am tired of demonstrating. I am tired of the threat of death. I want to live. I don’t want to be a martyr. And there are moments when I doubt if I am going to make it through. I am tired of going to jail. But the important thing is to get rid of the conditions that lead us to march” said Martin Luther in Bearing the cross
The important thing is to get rid of the thing that leads us to march. To achieve justice someone must value the cause more than their life. Today, there are a few causes that will cost lives, but few of us are spurred on by a cause. We have become calloused and wait for the next Nelson Mandela to take on the challenge. Our physical comfort is more import than the needs that are all around us. Man was not made to live for himself. We are part of something that is more important than ourselves and if we rise above the humdrum of our lives we can change the world as awe see it today.
The causes are many. If Nelson Mandela was a young man in his prime living today, what would he do with his life? Would he pursue a life of the law and practice law at a top law firm and buy big houses and drive big cars? I doubt it. I am sure that he would sacrifice his life for the poor man on the street, who hasn’t had a decent meal in two days or the teenage mother without a hope, who faces a life of doom and gloom. Maybe he would be interested in the environment, in global warming and climate change. Today, Nelson Mandela cannot plead the plight of the poor or admonish us to take better care of our world. Bono’s voice and the voice of all the activists and social entreprenuers are drowned in the busyness of our lives. They say that one person cannot make a difference, but history has constantly shown that there has always been one man who changed a generation. Will you be that one man? All you need is a cause to run with. A passion that will drive you, a passion that will lead you to march as Martin Luther King said. These conditions cannot go on like that. Maybe it all depends on you to change the world. Maybe you could be the next Nelson Mandela.