- Monday, February 4, 2019

The quintessential truth of the luminary legacy of the extraordinary stature of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is immeasurable … He was carved out as a leader exuding a passionate perseverance and a lingering tenacity of purpose. In that regard, President Mandela was able to endure 27 years of incarceration at Robben Island with a high degree of equanimity which baffled his tormentors and fellow inmates. Only a stalwart imbued with a clarity of vision and mission to accomplish the freedom of the human spirit from the shackles of colonialism and racial segregation could remain stuck in the mode of hope, that virtue which conquers the forces of despair. This was the indomitable Mandela

Madiba, as he is affectionately known, was able to achieve this phenomenal human specter of an unconquerable campaigner for social justice because of his fidelity to the humanistic just cause which was totally engrained in his political DNA … Madiba furthermore depreciates in humility the idea of false adulation when he acclaims to the world that: “I am not a saint, unless you think a saint as a sinner who keeps trying … Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again … The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

All these profound statements by Madiba signify a leadership whose hallmark is humility, the acceptance of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is the antithesis of an oligarchic leadership which currently is the bane of leadership in some countries the world over….

As leaders in our various spheres of human endeavor, let us embrace Madiba’s humble leadership as a legacy. Madiba was a disciple of transformational and transformative leadership. He advocated for the leadership that makes a difference in the world for the better, a world where there is peace through justice and fairness… Think of the coups that bedevilled several African countries soon after independence. The leadership of those historical eras left a trail of untold human and property destruction as well as the vandalization of human rights and freedoms. Such naked leadership is anathema to Madiba’s transformational and transformative leadership which predicates the qualitative life of people as its foundational value. Thus, the significance of our leadership must be adjudged by the extent to which we lose our life in order to gain it in the service of others for their betterment. As leaders, therefore, we ought to strive to serve rather than seek to be served. Africa needs servant leaders…. Such a leadership will make Madiba truly rest in eternal peace…

Honorable Jacob Francis Mudenda is Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe. This excerpt is from his remarks on Nov. 23, 2018, at the Africa Summit: Honouring the Legacy of Nelson Mandela.

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