He will be remembered as a great leader for the generosity of heart with which he held out his hand to his erstwhile political opponents who had imprisoned him for the best part of his life. He was a statesman of singular freedom of spirit which enabled him to put his country and people first, and any other interests second.
Nelson Mandela "has gone home", as President Zuma said. The moral challenge of the service he rendered the people of Africa remains. The continent needs leaders, men and women of dignity, integrity and humility like Mandela.
He did not suffer for so long so as to make a few excessively rich and the majority even poorer. When he stepped down after only five years in office this was a warning to all selfish politicians anywhere on the continent who cling to power for personal gain, and spend their time in political infighting while neglecting their duty to overcome violent conflict, poverty, lack of education, unemployment, lack of housing and disease.
Africa's young people are fleeing from the countries of their birth for lack of opportunities. Is that the freedom Nelson Mandela fought for all his life?
As we say farewell to this great son of Africa we pray for today's leaders to heed the message of his life. We pray for the people of Africa that their leaders may be men and women of integrity, and render unselfish service.
May he rest in peace!
Bishop Frank Nubuasah, SVD
President of IMBISA
The Bishops of IMBISA
(Inter-Regional Meetong of the Bishops of Southern Africa – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe)Post published in: News