Niagara Gazette — Swaying with and singing South African music inspired by artists like Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, and Sipho Mabuse, speaker Andrew Mlangeni, one of three surviving alleged co-conspirators accused of treason in the now famous Rivonia Trial that sent Mandela and his anti-apartheid colleagues to prison for nearly 30 years, remembered Madiba, (Mandela’s tribal nickname) as “an incomparable force of leadership,” who “illuminated the way in our nation’s darkest hour.”
Mlangeni’s reference to his nation’s “darkest hour” related to what would have been a civil war which neither side could have “won,” as South Africa’s racially segregated black population was ready to face the potentially catastrophic unleashing of its white minority controlled military in what likely would have been one of the bloodiest human massacres ever seen on the face of the planet with staggering losses of human life and unprecedented destruction.
The crisis brought the world face-to-face with an ugly reality which, thankfully, few really wanted to confront, proving that one person’s influence can change the world for the better, thus reiterating the key message inherent in just about all of the most popular Christmas time movies and songs: “Life is good; even better together.”
Mandela and the ANC changed the world by changing the course of history for the better, in a sense reflecting the Christmas Spirit which teaches us to respect ourselves and each other, to be kind to and appreciate one another; that does not mean that we have to exchange gifts other than our own best attitudes and behavior toward each other.
We can only imagine what life in South Africa, indeed, the world might be like, but for Nelson Mandela; don’t we all wonder what life might be like without us?
Bottom line: WE ALL MATTER!