Mandela's Character Traced and Discovered

2012-07-18 20:25

In this article I seek to offer probable answers to the following questions about Nelson Mandela. What are exactly the virtues of Nelson Mandela that we can benefit from? How can his life be distilled, used and infused in the consciousness of the new generation of South Africans in the most effective way that will dramatically improve society? What is it that Nelson Mandela has that many are magnetized to. What or who influenced Mandela?

Mandela truly remains the father figure of the ideal non-racial South Africa and his respects among humanity still extends outside the borders of South Africa.

Looking at Nelson Mandela at this great advanced stage of 94 years old - I still see that common threat that has characterised Mandela as we know him from his 40s. He seems not to have changed: We all know his distinguished features and character. What are these characters that has stood the test of time?

They might be varied but there are 5 key features, the characterizing marks that has defined Mandela as we know him. These are;

The sober seriousness that marks a real man; weighty quality driven from within, the sober conduct that is enduring in the midst of great difficulties.

Being true to yourself; tenacity of strength of mind, the ability to stick to one's purpose.

Human kindness that radiates toughness. Having kindness but not shying away from the courage to act and the courage to endure – never quit regardless of the circumstances.

Dignitas: "Dignity" A sense of self-worth, personal pride. Strength that is clothed in dignity. And never in a hurry about anything, patience and orderliness in carrying one's tasks. Faithfulness to the course or vision.

Prudentia: "Prudence" Foresight, wisdom, and personal discretion that is based on durability not the fleeting things of life - but that genuineness of life that is expressed deep from within and radiates outwardly causing people to be magnetized to you because of the genuineness.

In a nutshell all these virtues are related to discipline and self discipline. Mandela indeed is the curator of ancient age old never failing wisdom that all of us can learn from.

I now briefly consider the life of Mandela historically. Looking at Mandela through African history is valid since Mandela is coming from royal lineage where the practice of culture was concentrated, deeply respected and followed.

If one studies the history of the African cultures and in particular that of the Xhosa one can reasonably observe that these 5 characteristics  I have outlined that marks Nelson Mandela are directly mirrored from early Xhosa evolution and traditions - emanating from a very tough hard bitten society where there was not much kidding around. Ancient Xhosas disliked disorder and luxury. In fact luxury and soft life were seen as the harbingers of foolishness and intemperate life. The early ancient Xhosas wanted strong leaders but not too strong leaders who are overbearing and dictatorial.

When coming to times of wars and forming of an army for defense and attack, every soldier provided his own equipment which means to be a soldier you had to have a farm or some kind of property to have necessary resources to buy a sword, a spear, a shield and a bag to pack in your back. If you did not have all these things you did not join the army. That means the poor and the landless Xhosas did not fight. Were in the outskirts of society and therefore people strove for responsible life through hard work and dedication.

The primary attraction to the army was the spoils of war. The war formation was tough and hard with little room to manouever and therefore could only be perfected by strict training and self discipline. Those are the virtues of Mandela from his own Xhosa tribe which he still display even at this great old age, as I noticed him.

The moral of the story in studying the Xhosa culture and how it had an influence on Nelson Mandela is that serious things are not to be taken lightly. But what we are seeing the opposite is happening where the life of Nelson Mandela is trashed and taken lightly. This is wrong and shameful.

I propose that the most effective way to celebrate the life of Mandela is for each one to sit in the closet and mediate deeply about your life and try to reconcile your life with Creator. Heal your inner consciousness. All these noisy and empty activities done under television cameras of spending 67 minutes during Mandela's birthday are just glamour that is opposite from Mandela's character and personal seriousness of purpose. These public activities if they were done in private and are genuine that it would be a different story altogether. But they have taken a life of their own of glamour and empty laughter.

Looking at the life of Mandela this way can even perhaps help the African National Congress, the Mandela organisation that has profoundly degenerated in all sorts of ways of decadence, self congratulations and delusions of grandeur. Where wealth, luxury and avarice are the characterizing marks - and where honor and modesty are disregarded in the spirit of recklessness and display of expensive cars and expensive clothes while the people who voted are suffering in great deep level poverty, unemployment, dreadful depression, and impoverished communities.

Or alternatively we can each one in his or her own way take some or all those 5 qualities of Mandela I have outlined above and focus ourselves through them. That will be another very powerful effective way of celebrating Nelson Mandela and building the new generation of great people after Mandela.

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