World Statesman Mandela Needs A Rest


Two weeks ago, the Nelson Mandela Foundation issued a statement asking for the great man to be left alone to enjoy his retirement in peace.  The plea comes six years after Mr. Mandela’s initial announcement of his intention to retire from public life. According to a Foundation official, there are over 4000 monthly requests for Mr. Mandela’s time, which includes requests for autographs and personal interviews. These requests are in spite of an earlier press release informing the world that Mr. Mandela  “no longer grants interviews, nor does he respond to formal questions from the media, researchers or members of the public.”

So what is so special about this nonagenarian that endears him to us? Personally, I think the answer lies in his deeds. According to former US President, Bill Clinton, Mr. Mandela “taught us the freedom of forgiveness and showed us the power of humility.”  Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, describes him as the “epitome of grace and dignity, a man with determination to overcome even the greatest odds.”  Barack Obama recently applauded the “extraordinary vision, leadership and spirit” of this exemplary man. David Cameron describes him as “one of the greatest men alive.”

Like those mentioned above, I also have a lot of respect and admiration for Mr. Mandela. This great man selflessly and relentlessly fought for freedom, equality, and quite remarkably, peace. When he later became the President of South Africa, he did not embark upon a lifetime occupancy of that office in payback for his 27 years of incarceration.  Admirably, he stepped aside after just one term of office – something of a rarity among African leaders.

For all my admiration for former UK Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher, my major misgiving about her administration was her support for the South African apartheid regime and her branding of Mr. Mandela and the ANC as ‘terrorists’.  One wonders whether, since leaving office 22 years ago, Baroness Thatcher has ever entertained an iota of regret over her pretty disgraceful policy on apartheid?  Although I have no intention of speaking ill of the dead, former US President, Late Ronald Regan, also shamefully demonstrated support for the apartheid regime. Surely, history will judge the apartheid regime and its allies according to their deeds, while our omnipotent creator will definitely judge them according to both their deeds and true intentions.

Parking Ronnie and Maggie to one side, Mr. Mandela is undoubtedly a boon to the African continent and humanity at large. And as we try to heed the call to let him be, we reluctantly accept that the sun has finally set on the distinguished public career of a true world statesman. Given that I was not born when this icon was sent to jail in 1962, I am truly humbled to have witnessed the last leg of his heroic crusade for freedom and peace. I thank Mr. Mandela immensely for helping to make the world a better place and keeping hope alive in the process. I certainly wish him a well-deserved, peaceful and enjoyable retirement. Hopefully, health permitting, he will now find the time to engage in some of his favourite pastimes.

Considering his experience in the area of human conflicts arising from social and economic inequality, I would like Mr. Mandela to continue to speak out, at least on some key global issues. What do you think? Please take my poll below.

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6 responses to “World Statesman Mandela Needs A Rest

  1. Personally, I think he should just be left alone to enjoy his retirement. From all indications the man is very frail these days. There’s really no point in him commenting on global issues from the sidelines like some sage, if he hasn’t got the strength (or will?) to do the networking and travel that may be required to back up/ push forth his positions on these issues.

    • Thanks Ola for your comment. I know I may have been a bit selfish regarding my wish for Mr. Mandela to continue to contribute to some key world issues. Although I must add that, I was thinking more about contribution of an advisory nature, from the comfort of his home, as opposed to getting involved in “networking and travel to push his position….” Of course it is Mandiba’s call and he has spoken loudly and clearly on the matter.

  2. Who knows what toll all those years in prison, and the family tragedies that have followed, have taken on his health. If he has passed on a small fraction of his fatherly wisdom to his children (both within his family and in a broader sense) then his job has been well done.

  3. I vote that he should be allowed to enjoy retirement, he as contributed enourmously to the world at large. However can I point out Twinkle, that amongst all the positive quotes about Mr Mandela, there is none by any significant African leader…I wonder is it because they did not learn, recognise or agree with his unique attribute teaching as you quoted by another inspiration leader Bill Clinton the lesson in“…the freedom of forgiveness and showed us the power of humility.”? Just a thought, judging by the state of some of the countries on that amazing continent.

    • Hallo Tolu, thanks for your contribution.
      It is a fair comment you make about the lack of positive quotes from African leaders. I think I came accross just one inspirational quote during my research, and it was from Thabo Mbeki. It does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

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