bY Bernard Kwofie

A man may go the extreme to defend his freedom. We may have all learnt

this in the knowledge and experiences of the many struggles for
independence and even in our battle to win over life. The Arab Spring
I believe serves our generation in this lesson. To Barry Goldwater
this is no vice.
And so clearly Mandela was no less right when he went to the extent of
forming Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), as ANCs armed
struggle movement to carry out acts of sabotage against an apartheid
state. He also went ahead to organize a number of strikes and
continued fighting until South Africa finally became free.
Although such Freedom may come to us but one, yet for Mandela his
death seems to have given him another ?shot to liberty’. More
significantly, these freedoms did not come to him on a ?silver
platter?. They all set him on a long walk amidst oppression and deep
struggle. Except the latter was more of a battle with death than a
racially abusive regime.
Mandela?s legacy is well known. Prior to his death Madiba spent the
last three months battling ill health. At 95, this was as Peter Limb
puts it, ??no easy walk??. At many times Madiba was reported dead.
Even when he was brought home from hospital, he still had to be under
intensive care. In the past year ?Mr. Mandela had been admitted to
hospital four times, suffering from an array of health problems?, this
according to reports.
To die peacefully is to win death and for me this is liberty. For a
man of 95 to die is freedom. After all, death is certain and completes
a man?s long stay on earth. A man needs rest after a ?long walk?. For
a man who in his own words ?dedicated himself to the struggle of the
African people during his lifetime?, there is no doubt he might have
been really tired.
For Madiba, ?Death is something inevitable??. And that ??When a man
has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his
country, he can rest in peace?. Madiba walked his way to freedom
against oppression and now freedom against ?failing? ill health.
As we all may know, Mandela was no mean immortal and extraordinarily.
Indeed he affirmed this when in his inaugural speech he said and I
quote ??Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an
actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in
justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul
and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all??.
Even before my father?s death in December 2012 and which become a lead
quote in his tribute, I have already acknowledged that men a mere
mortals but went ahead to add that these same immortal men can also
achieve immortality by the depth of their deeds.
Today and as we mourn this great Star as Eniola rightly puts it, there
are no more hills for Madiba to climb and that alone is eternal
freedom. And even as he lay at peace, it is worthy for my generation
and the ones to come to be assured in the truth that Madiba will still
remain with us. His life will still offer lessons to us.
For us the free borns?, anytime we will think of this privilege, we
will think of names to which Mandela will be very eminent. To my
colleague free borns? in SA one name will resonate-anytime they think
of freedom and equality for all.
Even as we think of ways to regard and think of him I offer his words
in a more profound and sorrowful mood, ??I never wanted to be regarded
as an angel. I’m an ordinary human being with weaknesses, some of them
fundamental. I’ve made many mistakes in my life. I am not a saint,
unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
Already a three day national morning has been declared in Venuela by
their President Nicolas Maduro.
And going through the tributes pouring out for Madiba I am attempted
to defy his words and say he was indeed and angel and a man loved by
all, even the very eminent.
He is indeed a man twice free.
And to conclude I quote Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he wrote, “The
sun will rise?tomorrow, and the next day and the next … It may not
appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on??. It is for the
comfort of all, particularly my Madiba generation and the Elders.


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