It’s still Black History Month in America, and since we always have a guest feature every week, I thought, what better guest to have than one who fought vehemently with all he had for his fellow “Black man” against apartheid. Who else comes to mind with this profile except the iconic NELSON MANDELA.
In the face of trial (and possible death), in 1964, Mandela, after due consultation with his comrades and attorneys, decided to give a speech from the dock instead of testifying and undergoing cross-examination. This speech was geared towards shedding light upon the activities of the “African National Congress” (ANC), to project its political and moral program to the world at large.
This was a very decisive moment in the lives of Mandela and his comrades who were arrested alongside him and were facing trial. These men knew that every word/ action they took then had a trans-generational impact and would affect millions and millions of lives. Come to think of it, as much as these men were patriotic in every sense of the word, they were not exactly thinking of becoming famous or changing everything, they believed in ONE thing, they fought for this ONE thing and were willing to die for this same ONE THING!
“Freedom… the idea that all men can live in peaceful coexistence irrespective of their tribal differences.”
In preparation for the (three hour long) speech, Mandela’s attorney advised him to remove the last phrase which talked about dying, so as not to incite a death penalty from the Judge. Mandela however refused and chose rather to go with the risk of being sentenced to death, saying that the best option would be to say what he truly felt.
This should have gotten you off your seat by now, to think that a man (/person) like YOU in the face of imminent danger, decided rather to fight for his vision and leave a lasting legacy rather than to run in cowardice.
It was this brave act that was one of the pivotal propellants that brought about the end to apartheid in South Africa and caused a revolution for freedom which is still being felt in all the corners of the earth.
Here is an excerpt from his speech, but, before you read it, answer these questions:
- WHAT IS YOUR VISION AND AIM?
- IS YOUR VISION STRONGER THAN THE SITUATIONS THAT MAY ATTACK IT??
- DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR VISION ENOUGH TO DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO IT, OR EVEN DIE FOR THE SAKE OF IT?
This is cause for serious reflection, for YOU and for ME, because we’ve heard that a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. As we brood on it, Let us be encouraged by this display of Valor by these men of like passions and in these words from the Great Nelson Mandela;
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black 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.” Nelson Mandela
(You can read about the ANC, the full story of what happened, the speech, and other intriguing things here.)