Okayafrica celebrated Nelson Mandela on the day of his passing yesterday with a look back at the seminal literary texts that helped to shape a fearless freedom fighter into the global political icon that Mandela would ultimately become. The tribute encourages everyone, from the voracious reader to the history buff or budding revolutionary, to take in enough information to get an idea of what it might have been like to walk in Mandela’s shoes. The list spanning categories from classic fiction to battlefield strategy offers an idea of the pedagogy involved in nurturing the mind to lead massive resistance and withstand the rigors of carrying that mantle. While the world has seen Nelson as Madiba – the irresistibly darling and awfully peaceful grandfather figure watching over an ever-evolving nation – since his departure from political office, it is important to remember what it took for him to get there. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison serving a life sentence prior to his presidency for challenging the system of political separatism that ruled the country.
After over two decades behind bars, Mandela emerged during the 90’s to lead a movement that would tear down the walls of South Africa’s existing political infrastructure as he stood at the helm of the African National Congress (ANC). Mandela’s advocation of reconciliation after his release from prison earned him a Nobel Peace Prize, encouraged the country to unite and helped him to win the presidency – a seat in the highest political office that was not earned without blood, sweat or tears. It is in the spirit of resistance and with continued concern for human rights that we join the global community in celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela and follow his example to fight tirelessly to affect change in our own communities in order to create a world more intent upon enforcing the ideals of justice and equality. As we celebrate Mandela we are encouraged by the idea that his life and work revolved around principles he was prepared to die for; a passion less concerted may lead one to question and begin to discern whether they are, in fact, truly living. Read more about the life, lessons and work of Nelson Mandela at Okayafrica. Continue to educate yourselves about Nelson Mandela and others who have lived to challenge and change the human experience. Lala ngoxolo, Tata Madiba. Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. It is a rest well earned.