HARARE – The world woke up to the shattering news of the death of an international icon, the great Nelson Mandela.
For us in the MDC, his death represents a great loss not only to South Africa, but to the rest of Africa and the world.
At a personal level, he was a great inspiration; his life an unparalleled testimony to the capacity of humanity to withstand all odds for the greater good of a people.
We in the MDC feel a great void and we are greatly aggrieved at the sad and tragic loss of this icon. Madiba passed the endurance test and sent a great lesson that the predicament of an individual is subordinate to the cause of a people.
That a man could spend 27 years in prison and still maintain his humility and capacity to forgive is enough testimony to the greatness of the man the world has lost today.
I met him once and we had a frank exchange on the situation in Zimbabwe.
He told me that the country had taken a wrong turn and that President Mugabe had led the nation to the brink of political and economic turmoil and that he would personally do all he could to persuade the Zimbabwean leadership to see sense.
Unfortunately, his health deteriorated and now he has died with the Zimbabwean crisis taking a turn for the worst and with the country saddled with a legitimacy crisis arising out of yet another stolen election.
I also visited his cell at Robben Island and was inspired by the life of a great man who endured so much but had no bitterness and vengeance after so much pain.
Africa should continue to produce more Mandelas who think more about the people than personal power; for whom the people’s welfare is more important than the selfish pursuit of personal power and glory.
He has left an indelible imprint but still continues to inspire our unarmed democratic struggle against oppression and unbridled repression.
We will carry your torch and continue with the struggle for a better life for the people of Africa and all we can do is celebrate a life well lived for the benefit of the oppressed people of Africa and the world.
Go well, Madiba and rest in eternal peace.