Commentary

Mandela: Respect is earned by deeds not mere words

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By Amanya Mushega

Posted  Monday, December 16   2013 at  02:00
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Tributes though to the departed are never really for them. It is to the living. To learn from them, from their deeds while alive and draw lessons from them on what those living can do to do better for themselves, and those under their charge so that they can leave this world a better place than they found it. Not just for themselves, but others, especially those never able to ever rich them. So, what can we Ugandans in particular learn from his example and leadership, at all levels.

First Mandela made a lot of sacrifice, tried the peaceful road, and when he saw that it could not work, he opted for military option. He under went military training and launched what at that time , appeared to be a near impossible task, a military struggle.

He was arrested and spent 27 years in prison. He never gave up or relented in spite of the numerous enticements. When he came out, he never tried or advocate to crush those that never agreed with him, let alone those who tormented him and the people he led. On the contrary he extended a genuine hand of friendship, not out of pity, or to spite them, or opportunistically but to pull all available resources in order to build a better society for all. Him and many of his prison comrades were deprived of many earthly things they could have earned legitimately. When they came out, they did not rush to amass wealth at all costs, that because they suffered and sacrificed, they were entitled. On the contrary, simplicity, service, reconciliation and accommodation of the “enemy” were some of their concerns.

Mandela was officially in office for one term, but his impact on his country and the whole world was and still is immense . It is not how long one has served or lived that makes greatness, but what one is able to achieve with those they work with for the present and future at that time of service, When he left office, he did so completely, not hovering over his successors and looking for what to criticise them for negatively as has been the case in some African Countries, or in some Departments and social/sports clubs here in our Country. Let us not focus on what goes on in top jobs and ignore what goes on at many lower levels that affect many people in the societies we live in and lead.

Mandela, hardly praised himself. On the contrary he emphasised that whatever was achieved, was a result of team work and by or together with his comrades. He looked for the good things out of the people he worked or interacted with. Not the bad from both friends and foe. He shunned the blame game
He looked at the past critically, so as to avoid the same bad or evil things from ever happening again.

Even in victory, he looked at his foes as people to win over for the bigger struggle to build a better future for all. He used the past to gain positive energy, to be used on focusing on the present in order to build a brighter future. Even while in prison, he had learnt how to learn the culture and likes of his tormenters in order to use the same to win them over.

He was no hypocrite . He walked the talk.
On a wider scale , he used his stature to work for genuine peace in other parts of the world, especially in Conga and Burundi.

He was humble, of great humility, simplicity, and calm but firm. He was a good listener and an excellent respecter of time keeping and time management.

He was not greedy or corrupt. He shunned praise from people and for sure never practiced self praise. He loved the company of many children that were not his biologically who in turn just loved him as a father Madiba you lived a great life and were a huge example to many. I wish you were able to see the many current and former leaders, the meek and the mighty, who looked genuinely humbled at your official funeral. You are even greater in death.

Let those living leaders who flocked to bid thee farewell, learn a lesson or two to emulate, even if they are already so good. That would be the greatest tribute to you . Respect is never granted. It is earned not by mere words but deeds. You earned it. Rest in peace Madiba.

Mr Mushega is the Vice President Forum for Democratic Change.