By Sharieka Breeden
There are those who lead.
Then there is Nelson Mandela; a man who committed his life to enhancing the world we live in. Today, at 95 years-old he passed away.
As we mourn the life of a leader who was handed the unjust sentencing of 27 years in prison for opposing apartheid, I find myself deeply wondering about the making of Mandela.
I find myself wanting to know more about him, his contributions and what it takes to dedicate your entire life to sharing your vision of making the world a better place.
Mandela was more than a man who rose up from a cold prison cell to become a world leader. He was a symbol.
What does it take for an individual to commit to fighting for justice? What qualities must one possess to unite people and make the rest of the world believe peace and equality are attainable realities?
I don’t exactly know the answers to those questions, but it was clear that Mandela did. As he championed for justice, he united people and he put peace and equality within reach for many.
The first black president of South Africa committed himself to delivering democracy and eliminating racial tension. He worked endlessly to deliver freedom and hope to the people he led. It wasn’t just a position for him or an opportunity to make history.
It was a chance for him to position himself and help to shape history and the world we live in. Mandela’s leadership is an inspiring motivational example of what can be done when a person is willing to express compassion and concern for the development of people.
While his exit leaves most of the world longing for someone else to fill in as a peaceful facilitator that can share their visions of a world that can offer justice, it should leave all of us challenging ourselves and questioning what legacy we will leave. That’s what it certainly has done for me.
We must remember to mourn the world leader who challenged many of us to be better versions of ourselves. In remembering him, his fight for justice, his peaceful approach and his commitment to enhancing society must not be forgotten.
Today I found myself finding strength from a man that I have never met. I also found myself willing to admit that I don’t know much about the hero-like figure that I was always excited to see on television, read about or listen to as he shared his optimism.
As we say good-bye to a member of society who earned the Nobel Peace Prize because of the way he dedicated his life to making the world better, I question what I can do to better the world we live in.
For starters, I need to educate myself on Mandela and his will to make sure that he did something about helping to combat the ills of society. I need to look within and start trying to answer some of the questions he answered in his existence.
Mandela responded to a challenge. Let’s rise up and make our best effort to the same. May he rest in peace and may his contributions continue to serve as a blueprint for us as we work to impact and influence.
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”-Nelson Mandela