THE 94th birthday anniversary of Africa’s living legend, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, has come and gone, having been celebrated on July 18th 2012.
That day also marked the third anniversary of Nelson Mandela International Day, set aside by the by United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the life of a man who gave his life to the struggle for freedom, resolution of conflicts, better race relations, service to humanity, promotion of human rights and exemplary leadership.
During this year’s celebration, the United Nations joined the Nelson Mandela Foundation to enjoin all humanity to set aside sixty seven minutes exclusively for service to mankind to symbolise the 67 years Mandela spend in the struggle as a lawyer, prisoner of conscience, international ambassador for peace and the first democratically elected President of South Africa who laid the foundation for the peaceful cohabitation of divergent races in a rainbow nation historically wracked by the now defeated Apartheid regime.
Nelson Mandela is a prized son of Africa and a rare icon to mankind, a fact which the world has richly acknowledged by setting aside a day to fete his virtues. A powerful message that the Madiba left us this year is the importance of education. Mandela says: “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
The importance of this message must not be lost on us all. Education is the single magic wand that turned a little boy who had no shoes into the president of Nigeria. Lack of education is responsible for reducing privileged princes and lords in the traditional sense to absolute paupers. When we talk about education we must bear in mind functional educational systems that equip the youth to add value to society, not the types that end up reducing them to parasites and threats to themselves and their neighbours.
We must evolve educational policies that will focus the youth to believe in Nigeria and dedicate them to collectively build a nation where all Nigerians will see another as compatriots, rather than ethnic, religious and sectional ambassadors.
The life of Nelson Mandela is a beacon of pride for all Africans and black people everywhere who have for long been typecast as ne’er-do-wells. Unlike other nationalists who plunged their countries into bloody conflicts after independence, Mandela successfully healed the wounds of South Africa, making it possible for the blacks to hold political power and whites to control the economy without bitterness spilling over.
He remains a shining example in leadership and dedication to selfless service. We join voices with good people across the world to pray for his continued good health and long life. We are proud of you Madiba!