Friday, 6 December 2013

What as a young person did I learn from Madiba

While listening to Cape talk radio recently, this question came up frequently: “How will you spend your 67 minutes on Mandela Day? My personal feeling was that we owe Madiba more than 67 minutes. At my beginning of my high school in 1996, I learned about Mandela.  One holiday, as a young person, I was invited with other young to name a baby boy as it is part of our culture and I named him “Mandela”.  Although I was still young, I was touched by how he sacrificed his family and even his life for the freedom; not only of his people but both white and black.

As Mandela passes on, I reflect on how I would serve the community with my time in return for everything Mandela had taught me. The years of struggling that were undertaken by Mandela reflect a lifetime of continuous service aimed at the achievement of equal rights and freedom for the people of South Africa, and also as an inspiration for people across Africa and the world.
As I dig deeper into Mandela’s life, I think about what I, as a young person have learned from this great man. His experience shows that when pursuing a goal, we must put it not only in thoughts but also into actions.  Mandela showed himself to be a man of great compassion.

After the war and genocide in my own country, Rwanda, that left more than a million perish, I realise that I need to imitate Mandela’s qualities. I resolved not to be a hostage of the past. I decided to move on and applied myself in youth development. Throughout the rest of my life, I hope to continue in the same manner of unselfish work. I would indeed like to contribute what little I have to helping improve lives of young people throughout Africa.

With Mandela as my inspiration, I can say that leadership does not necessarily mean accumulating as many titles as possible in a community, but more so, it is defined by an individual’s dedication and actions in a community.
Recently with other young people we have started a youth initiative called Crystal Horizon Youth Centre (CHYC) located in Cape Town to instil creativity in African youth and engage them in the improvement of their own community.
The main purpose of the Crystal Horizons is to inculcate in the youth an understanding of their important role in the development of their communities and to assist them in participating constructively in community development, nation-building and to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship among youth.
 Joseph sitting in Mandela's chair at Mandela's home in Bishopcourt, Cape Town.

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