Thursday, July 19, 2007


Yesterday was Nelson “Madiba” Mandela’s 89th birthday. Congratulations and best wishes ahead Madiba. The name Mandela does not need lots of fanfare preamble. He is one man who is globally well known, loved and respected. He is among African sons that we are so proud of. His comrades like Julius Nyerere are among other African leaders that I truly admire, respect and love and wish I could have dinner with. I still remember how Mandela and Winnie passed pretty close to where I was standing and wet due to heavy rain that had just fallen. They were graciously waving to all of us, broad smiles on their faces. That is when the couple visited Tanzania, Morogoro to be specific. Tanzania was one of the first countries he visited after being released from jail. The town of Morogoro was special to South Africa because that is where one of the biggest camps for freedom fighters was located. It was known and still known as Solomon Mahlangu Camp although the camp is now part of The Sokoine University of Agriculture. That is the closest I have come in meeting him. To this day, I still hope to meet him and have a little chat with him and of course take a picture with him. Then I will hang the picture in my office for inspiration. I am serious.

His life story tells a tale that is quite rare among us. I am talking about forgiveness. After spending a great deal of his life behind bars, he came out and said, I have forgiven you, please let us build a new South Africa together! He definitely had great hopes of changing the world. His humble beginnings, told well in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, prove his intentions since his childhood.

Unfortunately, as he celebrates his 89th birthday, his dream of a more peaceful world remains a myth. There are countless conflicts, armed and unarmed, around the world. One certain reason for all the conflicts is that someone could not just be like Mandela and say, I am for peace, lets forget the past.

The renowned world leaders, including two former presidents of United States were among the high table guests in the party. Knowing how much the US contributes to the conflicts around the world, I wonder what kind of conversation goes on in that table. The smiles, the wines, soda and chips are accompanied with what conversation? How do we honor and celebrate Madiba’s birthday? I guess I am preparing his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday Madiba.


Koko said...

I hear you young man; Aluta Continua! but this time without machete. I bet most young men of your age or under, especially Tanzanians and South Africans, Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, and Angolans; don't know that the struggle for Independence and one United Africa was Mwalimu's dream, supported by Mandela, Samora and the like. Nyerere actively wanted to make his dream come true by supporting all African "Movements" at his own home - Mazimbu being one of the centers. Happy Birthday Madiba!

Oh! you wanted to know what they were talking about? Mr. Clinton was definately working on his 'Foundation' project. What the Americans want to know is "Why [helping] Africa? Unfortunately what they did not ask him before is Why did Americans steal from Africa? - the gold, diamond, oil, etc.etc.!

Patrick GK said...

Happy birthday Mzee Mandela!