Friday, July 17, 2009

Madiba day, no holiday ?

I put my vote amongst those who say, no holiday.

Madiba Day celebrates the service and sacrifice of one of the key leaders in the struggle against apartheid, a struggle for humanity, for dignity. I also appreciate the legacy of Mr Nelson Mandela, and the role he played in the transition towards democracy, since his release from prison. Its impossible to pay him back, or any other political prisoner, who spend decades in jail, for a South Africa free from apartheid. We may draw strength and inspiration from his example that human beings, normal, fallible as we are, can make a difference. Through service, dedication to values of humanity, compassion and justice, but also through struggle, through hard work, we can make a change.

Today, we still face new challenges, as a nation, as the world. We have not yet been able to stem the tide of violence, of racism, but also the scourge of poverty, illiteracy and disease. We still reel under the impact of unfair discrimination and the demonisation of people, who are different from us. The road to freedom is still under construction and a lot of hard, tireless effort still await us. My view is simple: we can only celebrate the legacy of the great humanitarian leaders like Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jnr, Aung San Suu Kyi, mother Theresa, etc, when we, ourselves get up and out of our comfort and join the messy struggles of peoples in the streets, on the farms and in the hell-holes, we hide from the tourists' gaze.

It would be contrary to what these people stood for, and some died for, if another day of rest, of going to the mall and spending our money on popcorn and coke is called. Let's keep on struggling for a new day, for and with all of humanity and the earth. There is more work to be done !
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