Mandela Was A True Leader

I’m back for this week’s edition of my column, and I will dribble in the box of what a true leader is…”The struggle” “the pains” and “the change”.
Virtually everyone is familiar with this wordings: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
We all have seen and witness the story of a man…A charismatic leader…A fighter, that’s what the departed hero stood for all his lifetime.
He was chained, confined under the shackles of apartheid…a freedom fighter against multi-racial democracy and became an international icon of peace and reconciliation…I’m talking about the great hero; the late Nelson Rolihlahla Madiba Mandela.
Pain is a part of life. Physically, psychologically and spiritually, while suffering seems to be an ingredient of growth during every phase of our development.
Suffering is built into the very nature of change. Therefore, sometimes, pains is not punishment and pleasure is not a reward, they are simply features of our existence.
In any enterprise or activity, we stand to lose something. We can lose a partner, a parent, a child or a friend. We can be hurt or robbed. We can lose in the stock market, lose at love or lose our heads.
Not being able to accept the pain in losses, reverses, endings or unfairness is a disability. We all have to face pain, but we can make it worse if we add our own fear, blame, shame, complaint or obsession.
Some people draw pain and crisis to themselves; some have it thrust upon them and make themselves feel more pain by how they react to it.
But for Mandela, he was imprisoned for twenty seven years, yet he blamed no one, instead, he kept his focus and fought for humanity.
Thanks to all the fans and loved ones in support of freedom, equality, transparency and injustice.
And thanks to some musicians who were part of the struggle that the late Madiba stood for. I can recall the roles played by Sonny Okosun’s “Fire in Soweto”, Ras kimono’s “Apartied” to mention just a few. Great job that all of you did, and the newspapers were not left out with their uncountable editorials and features, which helped during the Madiba struggle.
Sometimes, one would say life is not always fair. Nature is not always fair. People are not always fair. Sometimes we are taken advantage of, sometimes we do all the right things and still end up losing.
Sometimes we act cautiously, yet we still get hurt. Others may be generous to us, and yet we take advantage of their kindness. We may act with good intentions toward others, and yet our efforts go unappreciated or misinterpreted.
Everyone learns the same lesson: You win some; you lose some.
Here was a man who walked through the valley of the shadow and death and yet he feared no evil…And, today, the world is mourning the death of a hero, a legend, a man of true leadership quality.
He said in one of his saying; “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership”.
All that we seek is wisdom to know the truth about how we live and lead the others. The things we can not change or influence remains constant.
And these are…
“The day we are born”, “What we will become after birth”, “The day we will die”, Permit me to classify these 3 keys as; “Our morning”, “Our day time” and “Our night time”.
There are lots of things that we have no control over, and when we refuse to accept that lack of control, our lives are filled with series of disappointments, frustrations and sorrows.
We might advance in a job, get fired or be unable to find a job. A relationship may last a lifetime, or it could come to an unexpected and sometimes premature end. Some things we have power over, and some we do not.
Whatever it is, If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. Here are some of Nelson Mandela’s phrases that we will continue to remember:

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.

“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. Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right”.

Those were wonderful quotes one would say. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
And of course he was a sports Icon, who initiated the successful staging of the first FIFA World Cup to be held in Africa. Mandela’s country, South Africa hosted it in 2010.
I believe we have learned a lesson from the life of this true warrior. His life was not a made up movie, I’m a witness…Are you? May the gentle soul of the Madiba rest in perfect peace.
Hope you enjoyed this edition? Join me again in a fortnight and till then, do some sports and target a goal at least to keep your heart healthy. Thank you.

Send your reactions to
Peter Ijeh,
ULc, BSs.

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