Jay Naidoo* remembers the Madiba he knew.
We live in a continent ravished by 500 years of brutalising slavery and colonialism, where people and resources were abused, traded and primarily served interests outside our continent. It is a deep wound that we carry that we need to heal so that we are able to find pride in our indigenous past, understand our present and protect our future.
That’s what Madiba meant to me. He held the glory of the universe within. His long sojourn in his prison cell, the size of an average Western bathroom, on Robben Island compelled him to take that sacred but painfully short journey from his head to his heart. There he discovered his purpose and the meaning of being human. He immersed himself deeply in the true revelation of who we are – pure souls of love, compassion and a forgiving spirit.
And a centenary after his birth, the name of Nelson Mandela, whom we affectionately called Tata Madiba, still reverberates across our globe. The mere mention of his name swells our hearts. Why? More importantly, if his magic still resonates with us, what are we doing to spread it?
Mandela proved in his being and teachings that science is right: there are no races, genetically speaking. There is only one race and that is human. He showed us that our differences are minuscule and skin-deep; that all the maligned feelings of superior or inferior self-worth, ethnicity, racism, tribalism, cultural arrogance, gender violence, religious intolerance are all man-made and can be remedied by us.
But Madiba went further. He demonstrated that all knowledge, all wisdom, all experience derives from one source. Although raised in the Madiba shows his love for children, holding a baby on the way to an election rally in February 1994.
Christian faith, he seamlessly became a Muslim in a mosque, a Jew in a synagogue, a Hindu in a temple, a person of indigenous faith when he interacted with traditional healers.
Every cell of his physical body reverberated at a higher spiritual frequency and made all who came into his magnetic presence want to be a better human being. That’s what made him so great. He was profoundly human. And his lighthouse effect transcended prejudice and culture. It was his Madiba Magic. His touch, his words, his thoughts and his actions all reflected the deep spiritual divinity. Our journey is one of healing the wounds we carry. Of seeing the sacredness in everything we are surrounded by – Mother Nature, the rivers, mountains, forests, oceans and all living creatures.
Madiba planted those seeds in the people whose lives he touched. Whether we find the courage to reach into our hearts to find the Mandela within us, is our choice. The time of Africa has come Madiba dreamt of a proud Africa, the cradle of our humanity. The time of Africa has come. We have to stop our addiction to a fearful future of 55 countries, behaving like fiefdoms. We have to celebrate our youth dividend that gives us the youngest population in the world in the coming century. We have to leverage all our assets, especially our people, our enormous mineral and natural resources and carve out pathways of hope and opportunity for the generations that come after us.
With a world in turmoil, with warmongers and greedy politicians and rent-seeking economic elites, we now face an ecological emergency. We are at a crossroads. We need the Madiba Magic – now! More than ever.
Africa carries the healing balm for rebalancing the relationship between humanity and Mother Earth; for restoring the harmony between the sacred feminine and masculine; and helping us understand that the true purpose in our lives is realising the self within.
As for me, I celebrate Mandela Day every day by serving the communities that are ‘forgotten and invisible’ in our world. NA
*Jay Naidoo was one of the Ministers in Nelson Mandela’s first Cabinet and the founding general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). A world renowned anti-poverty and good governance activist, he is the author of the book ‘Change: Organising Tomorrow, Today’. He is also founding trustee of the Earthrise Trust and sits on the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.