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The glory of Nelson Mandela

Updated on December 9, 2013

On 5th December 2013, the world mourned the death of its son, Dr. Nelson Mandela. He died at the age of 95 year yet the world wanted him to live forever. This shows that Mandela’s death is not only a loss to South Africa or Africa but the world at large. It has been a while that the world mourned over someone’s death. Dr. Nelson Mandela was not a King that the world would mourn over the death of its leader and it is also known that most Kings and Queens lived and died but were never mourned across the world. What, then, is the source of Nelson Mandela’s glory?

There is no easy way to success neither is there any shortcut to glory for the greater the pains the higher the glory. Little wonder Mandela said, "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."Therefore, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela case was not different that is why Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha in his book, “Overcoming the challenges of life” used Nelson Mandela as an example and inspiration to spur others to glory.

Nelson Mandela passed through a lot of struggle in life but he lived for a purpose. It is said that the school authorities suspended him when he protested the withdrawal of all power of the Students’ Representative Council, of which he was a member. That confirms that his desire to fight against oppressors started when he was still young which means it was always a part of him. It also said that he worked as a guard at age nine, the first time he came to Johannesburg and was sacked.

The greatest secret in Mandela’s glory lies in the simple fact that he lived his life for others. This can be confirmed by his statement, “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination; I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” “I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”

He was jailed in his struggle to end apartheid in South Africa among other inequalities. It is said that he was offered a conditional freedom while in prison but he rejected the offer because he was not living for himself but for others. Consequently, he stayed 27 years in prison because of his purpose and because he refused to accept any shortcut to his glory.

Mandela was released from prison following calls and cries across the world for man no longer lived in isolation and his enemies learnt to applaud him for his courage and determination. He became his nation’s first black president. He received many awards, over 250 awards, which includes Nobel Prize for peace in 1993 and he continued in his service to God and man. That is why he established Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

He refused to play in the small stage in the affairs of man, in this earthly drama. That is why he said, “There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”. Mandela received many honors while he was still alive and statues were raised in his honor. Some nations named their streets and roads in his honor and he was also honored by the scientific world as some species were named in his honor.

What Nelson Mandela accomplished in his life time is what many mortals will not accomplish in many circles of lives. Africa would have been better if it had at least five people that had the spirit and mindset of Nelson Mandela. Now it has lost the only one she has however we hope that his life will be an inspiration to many Africans so that they can wake up from their sleep. Prof. Wole Soyinka said, “Africa has lost its soul and there is nothing miraculous left in the world.” Nelson Mandela lived and proved that the immortals are men and women that lived for a purpose.


“I am the captain of my soul.”

The last two quotes by Nelson Mandela confirmed that he was in charge of his destiny despite the setbacks he had. He remained steadfast as a captain of his soul and a master of his fate and destiny. That is why he got his glory. He lived within himself and was never distracted by the forces outside him for all power lies within.


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