In this period of great grief, I and my family send our condolences to the family of Mandela and all people of South Africa for the loss of Nelson Mandela, their beloved and hero of entire mankind.
There are people who praise Mandela now because he is famous and others because of his readiness to forgive his political enemies, but those who fight for freedom, rights and equality love Mandela and his former wife Winnie Mandela more because of their prowess in fighting for democracy and human equality in and out of South Africa.
Those who had to engage dictatorial monsters who were oppressing their country, love Mandela like an ordinary human being who managed self-mastery in pursuit of democratic rights, truth, freedom and equality of all, beliefs he lived by and was ready to die for.
For faithfully sticking to his beliefs, Mandela was as close as he could be to Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Dedan Kimathi and Martin Luther King Jr. and other great souls of this world.
As for upcoming revolutionaries looking for models to inspire them, enlighten their lives and lend them strength to fight for humanity, Mandela’s address to the court at Revonia has taught that rebellion against tyranny is obedience to God and it should be owned up and not denied before people or the world.
Mandela’s Rivonia court address also taught that righteous rebellion should be embraced and owned up even if doing so breaks oppressive law and threatens the life of the rebel leader.
To revolutionaries, the Revonia address strengthen their spirit as another speech that was made to court by Fidel Castro of Cuba who when replying to his charges of attacking Moncada Barracks of dictator Batista’s army said it did not matter to him whether the court jailed or sentenced him to death, for ultimately, history would absolve him as it did.
Even if Mandela fought a holy war, there are people and governments that demonised, betrayed and stigmatised him as a terrorist. Of these, Mandela’s worst opponents were past governments of USA, UK, Kenya, Malawi, Congo and Cote d’Ivore. As we get closer to Mandela’s burial on Sunday, Presidents Barack Obama of USA, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Joyce Banda of Malawi, Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, Joseph Kabila of DR Congo and Prime Minister of UK, David Cameron should, on behalf of their countries’ past governments, apologise and ask for pardon to Mandela before they bury him, for their failure to support him as a freedom fighter.
It is definitely great hypocrisy for some leaders to mourn and praise Mandela for struggling for freedom, rights and equality both in his country and the world when some of them are smothering these same values in their own countries. As for me, I ask the spirit of Mandela to pardon Kenya for her leaders’ failure to support him and his country’s struggle for freedom.
When apartheid was acknowledged by United Nations as a crime against humanity, diplomatic, social, sports and economic sanctions were imposed on the apartheid South Africa.
Thereafter, it is the governments of Malawi, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, USA and UK that busted them through international companies like Gulf Oil, western universities that bought shares in them and international banks like Barclays Bank.
In Kenya, leaders who supported apartheid by refusing to take a firm position against it were like Kenyatta who received treatment from Dr Christian Bernard, Tom Mboya, Bruce Mackenzie and Charles Njonjo.
USA and UK even went to the extent of listing Nelson Mandela as a terrorist and his party ANC as a terrorist organisation. It is big shame that when black people of South Africa were suffering hell under apartheid, while Mandela and his comrades were being tortured on Roben Island, Kenyans were not led by their government to oppose this evil system.
In fact only Kenyans who were abroad in countries whose people had the freedom to demonstrate and express themselves like USA, were able to demonstrate against apartheid in big meetings that African and international university students organised to oppose African dictatorships, the apartheid regime in South Africa and vestiges of Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau.
When people urge the correction of yesteryear wayward leaders, it is also a duty to spare good words for those who took risks and gathered courage to support Mandela against great odds and danger from imperialist forces.
Here it is also important to point out that, while some governments were supporting the apartheid regimes, there were good leaders from those same countries like Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. of America who opposed apartheid and racism in South Africa and in their own country.
If the father of freedom in South Africa was Mandela, midwives who assisted the delivery of freedom, rights and equality included countries like Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Algeria, Cuba, Libya, Ghana and Scandinavian countries led by Olaf Palme.
When Mandela came out of prison, he knew well who were his friends and completely refused his friends to be called enemies and enemies to be called friends.
Once free, he undertook a thanksgiving tour to all the countries that had stood with him and his people including Tanzania where his host was President Julius Nyerere his very good friend.
From there he headed to Ethiopia the country that had given him military training before proceeding to Algeria, Egypt, Scandinavian countries, Cuba and even UK and USA whose people and current governments had also supported changes in South Africa.
When Mandela came to Kenya, it was not to greet President Moi but to offer his moral and ideological thanks to his inspirer Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi and his Mau Mau movement whose struggle had convinced them opposing white dictatorship was possible.
Thoroughly embarrassed, the Moi government would not facilitate Mandela to visit the grave of Kimathi when he requested because it did not exist nor would it take him to see Kimathi’s widow Mukami Kimathi because of her shameful living conditions. Mrs. Kimathi would later take herself to Jomo Kenyatta Airport to meet Mandela.
When Mandela’s visits to Cuba and Libya were announced, there was opposition from Western quarters that Mandela dismissed in his assertion that no one had a right to choose enemies or friends for him.
As we praise Mandela, we must not forget his comrades in their collective journey and struggle for freedom and equality. There is no one that can struggle for freedom and equality alone.
Forgetting Mandela’s comrades would therefore offend God and nature. The Mandela that is today the hero of mankind is not Mandela the individual but Mandela the symbol of a struggle of millions against evil, the world over.
Lastly, it is not right to say because of the greatness of Mandela, Africa is a continent that has bore only one Mandela. Africa has had many Mandelas whom we should not forget.
Mandela is only proof of African soil’s fertile capacity to bear other heroes of freedom, justice and equality. And such heroes include Chris Hani, Bishop Tutu, Samora Machel, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Robert Mugabe, Dedan Kimathi, Oginda Odinga, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Mothers of Political Prisoners in Kenya and many others.
On Sunday, we mourn and bury our departed Mandela. Same day we celebrate the birth of a hundred Mandelas. Long live Mandela, long live struggle for freedom.