Tata. Madiba. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Father of the African Nation. A man who has left his mark on earth as a peaceful fighter, who truly believes in equal rights of all people.
You gave the world a different set of eyes to look at racism and hate. One year without your presence on earth and it seems like we really just don’t get it. Look at what is happening here: in Ferguson, look at what happened in New York. We are hurting. We have regressed to a point where racial tensions escalate to a place where WE CANT BREATHE.
You were old when you passed Tata, you were human too. You fulfilled your purpose on earth. And we have shown appreciation through admiration of your being, awarding your treads in freedom fighting. We continue to read about your life, in history books, through the academic curriculum and visually watching films. However, we fail to adopt your teachings into our lives. Why is this? Is it that much easier to hate and hurt than to forgive, love and live in tolerance?
Madiba your tireless work in attaining equal rights for all South Africans touched the world. When reminiscing on your work such as days like this, we come together to evaluate who we are as a human race and where we, the global community are moving when it comes to equal rights.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion” you once stated. You said that hate is a learnt activity, and love is within our nature. And although we admire your work and your teachings, we have refused to implement them in our daily lives. Is it because we think you were more than a human? Did we idolize you to a point of making you lose a sense of humanity? Well Tata, none of this is your fault. This is on us – people who love to feel nostalgic but refuse to develop towards a brighter and better future.
We look across the seas to our brothers and sisters in America, how they suffer. How Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown lost their lives, and how their offenders are practically pardoned due to holes in the justice system. Tata we may be protesting peacefully but we harbour anger. We drink the acid of hate and discrimination, and it intoxicates our minds to seek black supremacy just so they can feel the pain we feel – the pain that seethes through Trayvon’s parents, the hurt that torments Eric Garner’s wife every time she hears the words “I can’t breathe’’.
However, we forget that our ‘enemy’ feels the pain as well. There are people who may not share the same skin colour as we do, but see these violations and realize that we cannot go back to an era where any group is oppressed. We must move forward. We must move forward with your ideologies and beliefs Tata, as you have touched us, and we at least owe it to your legacy to be able to become a legitimate global community. How can we celebrate you if we still harbor feelings of hate? We need to stop being hypocrites. The time has come for us to walk to psychological emancipation with your teachings in one hand, and unity of our fellow humans in the other, and that time is now.