By Ardain Isma
Some candid remarks on this sad occasion
Although I knew it was expected, but I could not forestall the anger and emotion that wrap my soul. Yes, Nelson Mandela, the man who has embodied struggle, hope, triumph and infinite pride has suddenly passed on. Few world leaders in this century have lived to be so compassionate, so conciliatory, so focused, and so humble as Mandela has. For 27 years, he endured without a flinch the isolation of harsh labor in prison, the brutal treatment of his jailors only to emerge nearly three decades later as the undisputed leader of a united South Africa. Mandela remains true to his ideas, to his devotion to social justice and to his revolutionary conviction to the very last seconds of his life.
Mandela is the quintessential figure of what makes a man a GREAT MAN. He is above all, the ultimate pride of every person of African descent, whether in Sub-Saharan or in the African Diaspora. He was never afraid to speak his mind, and he never sugar-coated words to please others, friends and foes alike. His braveness, prowess and his revolutionary romanticism have already ushered him to the pantheon of the greatest men humanity has ever produced. The respect that he commands—then and now—has transcended race, gender and age. His accomplishments on this earth will definitely eternalize his iconic persona which, from this day on, continues to live beyond the frame of his physical state.
I was in my early twenties in college when I was exposed to Mandela’s ideas, and I fell in love with them ever since. I have always compared him to what Toussaint Louverture represented two centuries earlier—the finest and prowess of the black race. Only distinct individuals have the guts and the wherewithal to beat the odds and make the impossible possible. Without a doubt, Mandela was one of them. We now have his words and deeds as legacies and guides to lead us along the path to success, especially in times of adversity.
Life would lose part of its essence if death did not exist. It is through death that we create the long and endless chain of human existence. To me, the passing of Nelson Mandela Madiba represents an inescapable journey to the unknown, the joining of many others like Martin Luther King Junior, Mahatma Gandhi, Jacques Stephen Alexis, Jacques Roumain etc… who will forever shine in the firmament. I bow with my utmost respect to YOU!
Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor for CSMS Magazine and the executive director of the Center For Strategic And Multicultural Studies. He also teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of North florida (UNF). He is a scholar as well as a novelist and the author of several essays on multiculturalism and Caribbean politics. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org