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Thursday Thoughts: It is important to have dreams in life

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By Brian Mutebi

Posted  Thursday, December 19  2013 at  02:00

It is almost impossible to write something new about Nelson Mandela. Honestly, what has not been written or said about the man the whole world reveres? Although he is dead, Mandela’s legacy lives on. Recenely, I read something that is not new but certainly made me look at him with a different perspective.

While in prison, Mandela was presented with what seemed to be an opportunity – to be released from prison on condition that he gives up his struggle for freedom and justice. He refused. Why you might ask, because he had a dream. As I meditated, I remembered my experience. Today I would be living in my own house, but about two years ago there is a decision I made that saw a change of plan. And I am not equating myself to Mandela. My point is that everyone must have a dream. For Mandela, there was something more important than his own freedom, the liberation of South Africans. His dream was a South Africa where White and Black people lived together in harmony.

Mine is that one day every child will receive an education. When I assessed my village, I was convinced that the limited education exposure of several children there, undermined would be successful lives. In 2009, I started the charity, Education & Development Opportunity – Uganda to provide access to education to children who would otherwise have no hope of attaining an education.

It was because of this dream that in 2011 when I ran out of money and the children I support were about to drop out of school, I sold off my piece of land to pay their school fees. Just the way Mandela looked at getting out of prison as meaningless if the rest of South African was not free. I too thought it worthless to own land in a prime area with dreams of building a house and living a good life yet some children in the village cannot read or write!

The good news is that we all have dreams. Forget those stories you review while asleep. A dream is that priceless and selfless aspiration in life. It is what you live for. The motives behind it must be pure. That means you are so committed to it that you can give up your life for its sake. Most times, when I send text messages out to people especially for the first time, they often ask me why my SMS signature is “IHavDream”. This is a reminder that I do have a dream.

Life without a dream can be meaningless. When you succeed without transforming the lives of others, you are basically a successful failure. There are rich people who die and as soon as they are gone so is their legacy. The world forgets them almost immediately. Mandela never featured on the Forbes list of world’s richest men but he will always be remembered! This is proof that its dreams that lights up the world and transforms the life of others.

And this is not far-fetched. I will never forget a 90-year old widow in my village whose granddaughter I had paid school fees for. She looked me straight in the face and said; “Now I know my granddaughter is in safe hands. When I die, please take care of her.” Now that is making a widow’s heart sing! Yet it is not I. It is God who gives us the dreams. Our job is to embrace and pursue that dream.