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Remembering Madiba: Emblem of Peace, Master of his Work, Patriot of his Fatherland

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    What lessons can Cameroonians draw from the life of a unique son of African soil?

    My dear compatriots, at the dawn of December 2013, the global media sphere experienced one of the world’s largest traffic jams caused by words. This was provoked by the passing away of a great man – Nelson Mandela, on the 5th day of this month.

    This period was marked by the outpouring of carefully chosen and distinctive accolades by prominent men and women in different walks of life and in different geographic settings to describe one of the world’s greatest men fondly called Madiba. Yes, Madiba was great, is great and shall forever remain great.

    His greatness benefitted millions. It reflects in the lives of many. To his countrymen, he spearheaded their salvation from an inhumane apartheid regime. To others, he inspired greatness. Thanks to Madiba’s lifetime struggles and hey days, many describe him as a beacon of hope. Can our leaders emulate his unique legacies to serve as forerunners of hope in our time?

    Eulogising this world icon, the President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama emotionally explained how Madiba’s endeavours energised his leadership ambitions. “It woke me up to my responsibilities – to others, and to myself – and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today”, he said at Madiba’s funeral.

    As a renowned world leader who picked up lessons from the footprints of Madiba’s excellent political track record, President Obama used this occasion to call on Africans, especially our leaders, to follow the footsteps of the former South African leader who served only one term as president. This decision came as a shock to many, yet he did so and proved that such can be done. Can this be emulated in our current political dispensation? Or, can our leaders be bold enough to serve for tenures defined by the constitution without manipulating it?

    It’s no doubt that Madiba affected lives, inspired positive movements, changed nations and the destiny of many. But to you and every other Cameroonian including myself, what is Madiba’s legacy to us as a people and a nation?

    Nelson Mandela’s virtues resonate in the triangular boundaries of our land. It reflects in the sweet sounding but practically forgotten words of the motto of our nation – Peace, Work, Fatherland.

    Emblem of Peace: Madiba was a man of peace. His deeds position him on the pinnacle of nonviolent activists. Although locked up for 27 years in Robben Island where he was maltreated, pleasurably pampered with much disdain and kept under treacherous conditions, Madiba forgave his punishers. He focused on his objective – to set black South Africans free from the apartheid regime. He worked to achieve this through peaceful means and never strategised to avenge the perpetrators.

    Madiba portrayed human decency beyond reasonable doubt. Despite having the military know how and the power to stir a revolution against the oppressors of black South Africans, he was able to forgive the white oppressors and led his countrymen to follow the footpath of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. Madiba was a peaceful man!

    Master of his Work: Throughout his lifetime, Madiba toiled to achieve worthwhile goals. As a young Qunu child, he diligently guarded his sheep like David in the bible. As a student he imbibed the values embedded in the theoretical lessons he got and emerged into a lawful individual who made gargantuan sacrifices for a just cause. He was the fearless activist who gave himself as the shield for his people.

    As president, Madiba worked assiduously to promote peace, democracy, freedom and prosperity for his people. His democratic and developmental efforts transcended beyond the hills and valleys of the South African nation. He pushed for an Africa built on the cornerstones of robust and credible institutions and driven by its people.

    Madiba’s hardworking, selfless and sacrificial nature made him to miss his family and vice versa. He dedicated a greater share of his life working for his compatriots and the world. He acquired the necessary skills to achieve his freedom fight. He sought for academic and military tools adding these to his excellent social potential to stand out as an all-rounded icon and role model. Despite the economic challenges of his early days, Madiba leveraged on this to construct a life worth emulating. When he attained a wealthy position, he did not exploit available resources for personal wealth. Rather, he worked tirelessly and fought harder for equity in the distribution of wealth among his compatriots.

    Patriot of his Fatherland: Madiba had a holistic understanding of what it meant to defend the colours of a nation. In every stage of his life, he demonstrated a fervent commitment to perform responsibilities that would benefit his nation. Thanks to Madiba,

         -Apartheid was eradicated off the face of South Africa;

          -South Africa is a democratic nation and a model to other emerging democracies;

          -South Africa is among the 20 leading economies in the world and one of Africa’s leading economies;

          -South Africa is the first and only African country to have hosted the prestigious World Cup competition;

          -South Africa is a memorable and breathtaking Tourist destination.

    These are a few of the achievements realised by South Africa that can be credited to the heroic ventures of the son of the land. These stand out as political, economic and social hallmarks that make South Africa to be an exemplary democratic and prosperous society. The sacrificial life of one man turned things around in this once besieged nation. This is a true reflection of a man who always had his ‘fatherland’ on his mind, at heart and in hand.

    In many ways, Madiba’s life history reflects rays that build images that depict the values of our national motto – peace, work and fatherland.

    As sweet words continue to outpour beyond media landscapes, there is an increasing call for all to remember the legacies of Madiba. Our remembrance needs to translate beyond mind mappings of the man- Madiba. It needs to be reflected in a transformational lifestyle rooted in and clothed by the emblematic characteristics of this iconic giant of our time.


    By Jimm C. Fomunjong, Communications and Information Assistant, West Africa Civil Society Institute, Ghana


    Thank you for this tribute to a <Great hero of our ~time~ … >.

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