Today, tributes pour for a global icon and a man who is credited for reconciling White and Black South African after the brutal apartheid era that saw the black majority suffering hideous human rights abuses under successive white minority regimes.
From world leaders, music icons, sport legends, the academia and the media, Nelson Mandela has been described as an institution known for consistency. An enigma, a model, the peoples conscience and a philosopher whose life brought a new definition to leadership and service to humanity.
The All Progressives Youth Forum, APYF joins the world in mourning this great icon whose life will remain the theme of discourse in most parts of the world for a long time to come.
Beyond the tributes however, it is imperative for everyone to learn a lesson or two from this man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices. The legacies he left behind is a challenge to the human race, particularly youths in Africa and Nigeria.
With youths in the African continent where corruption, poverty, conflict and bad governance has become the order of the day, the example Nelson Mandela has set with his immense spirit, his towering heroism, and exemplary character is one that must be emulated.
Nelson Mandela was in his youth when he began the struggle to liberate the people of Africa. Mandela was barely 25 when he became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress, ANC within which he banded together a small group of young Africans calling themselves the African National Congress Youth League with the goal of transforming the ANC into a mass grassroots movement, deriving strength from millions of rural peasants and working people who had no voice under the apartheid regime.
Mandela didn’t sit down in his comfort and demanded the leaders of the ANC to make things happen for him. He didn’t join the ANC to become an errand boy to be used at will. He believed, dreamt and struggled for South Africa. His participation in ANC as the leader of the African National Congress Youth League led the ANC into officially adopting the Youth League’s methods of boycott, strike, civil disobedience and non-cooperation, with policy goals of full citizenship, redistribution of land, trade union rights, and free compulsory education for all children. Today, that involvement has paid off for the people of South Africa.
For us in the All Progressives Youth Forum, this is a model we have adopted and a challenge Nelson Mandela has left for us to surmount.
What we are witnessing in Nigeria today can be be likened to the apartheid in South Africa, except that ours is an apartheid of the elite against the masses, the rulers against the ruled, those in government against those who are being governed. Good governance is at its lowest, corruption and impunity dominates public life, the hope for a brighter future is getting bleaker, the poor are getting poorer, politics is polluted with manifest criminality and inconsistency. Are we going to sit and watch this decay trap the future of Nigeria?
Like Madiba himself said, “what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”. Today, Madiba is no more, but his legacies will remain with us for a life time. What are you willing to live for?
We call on Nigerian youths to take up the challenge that has been thrown to us by the exemplary life and words of Madiba.
Let’s take part to take charge of our country and destiny.
May the amiable soul of Madiba rest in perfect peace.
All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF)