The name is Nelson

The fortunate thing about being named after a great man is that it is a lot easier for people to remember who I am.

The name is Nelson

The fortunate thing about being named after a great man is that it is a lot easier for people to remember who I am. “Yes, as in Mandela.” I have often remarked more times than I can count in my lifetime. Lucky I am for I know that I will be saying this for as long as I live. This is the direct effect of the great legacy that Nelson Mandela has left the world on me. Now that the burial formalities have taken place, this simple homage to the man is eTN’s way of celebrating the life of a man that defied his enemies by using just one word—change.

Nelson Mandela reminded the world that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And change his world he did, and the rest followed suit. He had set an example for the rest of Africa to seek out “change” in ways applicable to them. And, for the rest of the world, too. Mr. Mandela became an inspirational figure not only to his countrymen, his African brothers and sisters, but for all of mankind. He is referred to as “anti-apartheid activist, revolutionary and politician,” which I would sum up in one word—humanitarian. One need only to go back to his 1994 inaugural address to see proof that he indeed understood his destiny. He said, “Liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.”

Freedom is a word that the powerful and the weak can relate to. No other human being in recent memory tells the moving story of the journey from captivity to liberation more so than Mr. Mandela. Then, he became South Africa’s president on top of that. And the rest, as they say, is history. There is no sense in naming this great man’s achievements, let history speak for itself.

This past weekend, South Africa played host to the world’s most powerful politicians and celebrities to help honor the man who “changed the world.” No other former deceased head of state has ever been bestowed this kind of honor. An honor that far extended beyond the 4500 or so attendees of the funeral service, held in Quno, South Africa, to near or far corners of the world. Thanks to technology and extensive media coverage, one did not have to be in Qunu on December 15, 2013 to honor Nelson Mandela.

It is interesting that the first three letters in the word funeral spells FUN. And fun is exactly the way to celebrate the life of a man who has touched so many lives. At last Sunday’s service, the singing and laughters formed parts of a poignant tribute fitting for a man named Nelson Mandela. The man so revered that perception of him is of the utmost regard. So much so that he is notorious for citing inspirational passages, which he may or may not have stated. One brilliant example is the “deepest fears” passage. It has been foretold that in his 1994 inaugural address contained the excerpt: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. … As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The above passage is famously attributed to Nelson Mandela. These words, however, were not by Mr. Mandela but by self-help guru Marianne Williamson. I suppose then that the highest form of flattery is no longer through imitation, but rather it is when people speak so highly of you that great things are related to you even if you do nothing. Thank you, Nelson Mandela. Rest in peace, brave one!

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