THE BLOG

The Tragedy of Nelson Mandela

11/12/2013 11:12 GMT | Updated 09/02/2014 10:59 GMT

I have lost the desire to elongate, legitimise, and, propagate my words. I have learnt that when words are honest, they require no justification and arouse no suspicion. In the end, our actions always speak louder. The tragedy of Mandela's passing is that though he will be remembered for his actions; very few of us potential anti-heroes will choose to act, consciously choosing to share his scripture instead of taking his advice to becoming powerful beyond measure and liberated from our own fears.

The tragedy then, is that as we celebrate the actions of a man who sacrificed his freedom to fight for global equal opportunity, we, more than ever before, willingly buy and explicitly endorse leaders whose actions exacerbate the inequality gap and further deepen the inertia of the world's most exploited people remaining in opportunity apartheid - the very fight Mandela dedicated and whole-heartedly sacrificed his life for. We eulogise Mandela for standing up while we kneel to the powers he courageously fought.

The tragedy is where Mandela called for change and spent over 10,000 days behind bars waiting for it, today we have a well pronounced, socially attentive but macroscopically illiterate comic Lothario who cries revolution and liberation for the people from an oppressive regime for which he lacks the heart to depose. This is our saviour? This is progress? How far have we sunk when a man who plays a buffoon to mindless armchair anarchists for personal profit is our biggest hope for change? When sunglass wearing musicians take it upon themselves to save Africa? When we persist on fuelling the fire that has desolated so many? Welcome to the 21st Century; the age of space travel, charity careerists and the birth of the Celebrity Mother Theresa.

The tragedy is that we all know our world is grossly more divided today than before Mandela was born. We all know the game is fixed. We all know the problems but do not have the courage to stand up in fear of losing the comfort our complicit compliance allows. We leave it for others to act as we sap our spirits, speaking of their incompetence instead of moving to end it.

The tragedy is that Mandela, much like other 20th Century pop culture icons such as John Lennon, Tupac Shakur, Che Guevara and Mahatma Gandhi will be seen as this esoteric higher force, while we, the renascent drove, plough the soil for chosen oligarchs to inculcate 21st Century plutocracy. The tragedy is that Mandela mastered but two traits that we all share; Integrity and Compassion. The difference is that we sacrifice them for the lure of abundance. Mandela, like those before him, never did.

The tragedy is that Barack Obama, a man whose words fooled many into believing he was a man of honour, who manoeuvred Mandela's struggle for respective achievement, who dared call him a personal hero as he voluntarily practised paradoxical policies that his personal hero renounced and was ready to die for. I believe Obama to be an innately good man but tremendously weak. Goodness that does not stand up to evil is more dangerous than evil itself.

The tragedy is that Curtis Jackson, a prominent rapper, promoting money, bitches and violence said "Get rich or die tryin". He is the spokesperson for 21st Century business - 'from nothin' to somethin'. We abhor what Jackson promotes but are we any better? We indoctrinate the mission statements of big business and small enterprise so well that they've replaced our own.

The biggest tragedy of all is, if we're lucky enough to survive until we're old, grey and wrinkled, and our grandchildren ask us what we gave to the world we lived in, we are only able to say that we took more than we gave. For the man who dies without giving more than he has taken can take no triumph from his life.

And so, as I learned of Mandela's passing, there occupied an abandoned smile and an unburdened mind. The certainty by which Mandela lived and the conviction of his beliefs could not permit anything but overwhelming joy. And, as I write this sitting in a hot, stuffy single fan room in the Philippines, I am exactly where I need to be for reflecting on the life of a man who had no special talents, but who achieved something most us will ever dare to try. In the words of the Immortal Emerson, "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment". There is only glory in the death of Nelson Mandela.

The tragedy is that we will only dream of Mandela's words and never dare to act and see just how great we can be. That when we look our grandchildren in the eye and we cannot escape the feeling of 'what did I actually give to the world'. The tragedy is not that we didn't make an impact. It is that we did not give anything. Or worse, we never even tried.