You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2013 12 08Article 294524

Opinions of Sunday, 8 December 2013

Columnist: Ali, Chibaro

Tribute to Mandela

I thought the tears in my eyes have dried. I thought the rain of pebbles
will never fall again. I thought death has granted some respite to the wise
man on whose words and actions the generations walk with. I thought death
has pull back its icy hands from him until at least after our centenary
birthday. But I woke up at dawn and realised my eyes were oozing with
tears, my pillow soaked in tears, not tears of joy but tears of sorrow.
Nightmare again? No. My wife whispered into my ears "the hero and the
greatest African leader has fallen".

From birth, you were given the name Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term loosely
translated as 'pulling the branch of a tree' or euphemism for a
"troublemaker". You joined the ANC in 1944 as a young anti-apartheid
revolutionary, which was later declared as a terrorist organisation and was
banned from operation but that never dampened your spirit to wage the
crusade against the apartheid. You were born as a leader and you ended up
as a hero.

'Umkhonto we Sizwe' translated as "Spear of the Nation" was the armed wing
of the African National Congress (ANC) which you co-founded and fought
against the South African government. You were destined to liberate the
people of South Africa (blacks) from the hands of the wicked white man. You
are revered and respected all over the world as one of the few greatest
African leaders who ever lived. You fought a life battle against oppression
and injustice and served ONLY one term as president of South Africa, you
emerged without stealing your country’s money into foreign accounts to
developing the west (as we see today). Africa needs leaders like you to
build the continent and make it a better place to be.

You went through so many challenges; from exile to imprisonment, but you
never succumbed even at the glare of the gun. You were prepared to
sacrifice your life to liberate the 'black man' from the hands of the
oppressors. As a renowned lawyer, you were banned from active practice and
treated like a lost orphan in the wilderness, you were repeatedly arrested
on force charges, tortured and imprisoned but again that never quenched
your burning spirit to fight for freedom. You were banned from public
appearances, from belonging to any organisation and attending meeting and
delivering speeches but as a smart thinker you always had your way out. You
walked in incognito and barefooted, organising secret meetings and
awakening the spirit of the youth to stand up for their rights. You were a
true patriotic and incorruptible African leader.

You saved the future of South Africans from impending doom when the 'Bantu
Education' was introduced by the whites to give inferior education to the
'blacks'. You quickly came out with the "m plan" and used every household
as an educational center and taught Africans the right education. You made
the whole world to understand that Africans are not inferior before the
Europeans and that we (African) must resist their supremacy and racial

In the rivonia trial, you were sentenced to life imprisonment. On the day
of the trial, crowd gathered outside the courtroom with banners which read:
" you will not serve these sentences as long as we live" and truly you were
release from prison after serving 27 years. You were your people and your
people were you.

Father of the nation, Black pimpernel, as you were affectionately called,
you have left a huge vacuum that will be difficult to replace by any of our
current leaders. Our eyes are moving around the continent searching for
that leader who is nearest in meaning to your calibre. But until we spot
that person, we shall continue to wail in sorrow. Like great writers, great
leaders are not buried in tombs, they are buried in libraries. We shall
visit there and read your legacies. Rest in peace, father of Africa.

Written by Chibaro Ali.