Mandela Mania

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− Madiba is a legend. A hero for all Africans, and for the rest of the world, Kenneth Emyenghemoe says, turning his head to see the poster of Nelson Mandela. We’re in the yard of Mandela car wash in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. While mourners and 91 world leaders gather in South Africa to unite in tribute to a man who became a global symbol of reconciliation, in one of the biggest send-offs in history, the Nigerians pay respect to “Madiba” their own way. His name is on everyone’s lips and his face on every newspaper front page and every tv-screen.

Kenneth is a driver waiting to get his car washed by Mandela’s men.

−The owner of this place loved the South African legend so much they nicknamed him Mandela. When the guy wanted to start his own car washing business, it just had to be named, Mandela, Kenneth explains. His old Toyota responds well to the beauty treatment it’s undergoing, and looks at least five years younger when the boys are done washing it.

−It is easy to see that you Nigerians love “Madiba”, but can you explain why he is such a hero?

−That’s easy, Kenneth states, Nelson Mandela always fought for his people, our leaders only fight for themselves. Mandela had a dream, and lived by it. He never gave up the hope, and will always be remembered for his continuous struggle for freedom and equality for everybody. If you ask me, I will say he was 2000 times better than our Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.

Kenneth is sure no other African leader will be honoured by the world the way Madiba is honoured now. He is probably right, but Barack Obama’s words at the memorial today might serve as inspirations for the young who one day will take over as leaders here in Nigeria, and in the rest of the world, for that matter:

«We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, but let me say to the people of Africa, and young people around the world: You can make his life’s work your own.»

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13 Responses to “Mandela Mania”

  1. […] For the whole story and more picture, look up Untold Stories. […]

  2. Mandela rightfully deserves all of the accolades. He dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of the oppressed under the brutality of apartheid. Personal sacrifice was something that did not frighten him, obviously. He belonged to a class of politician that is rarely found in today’s Africa. The truth is that Mandela represents an Africa that really no longer exist. It is great to honor the man and his creed of living, but Nigeria is facing grave problems from within that cannot be attributed to apartheid. The driver, Kenneth, clearly understands his country’s predicament. South African has been ruled by the African National Congress for the last twenty years. Most Black South Africans are acutely aware that the change over from apartheid to Black rule has not produced the promised improvements in social status. Aids and unemployment are ravaging South Africa. Mandela’s death clears the way for South Africa and the entire continent to finally confront is post-colonial progress under Black rule.

  3. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) Says:

    Obama’s words say it all. Think what a wonderful world it might be if everyone emulated Obama’s words.

  4. How true this is.
    The world lost a great man, but may his work and spirit live on.

  5. I believe that we will see the likes of Mandela. We have to have many more like him. Because if we don’t, we are heading for a disaster.

  6. I think Obama’s observation should hold true for any genuine leader’s would-be admirers: if our heroes are not doing their good works out of self-interest, then we only honor them by forgetting ourselves and working to continue and expand upon the good that they began. All human heroes are flawed in their own ways, so there’s no excuse for us ‘ordinary’ people not to attempt to become better through doing good things just as they eventually did.

  7. What a wonderful story and inspiration. Mandela inspires us all. His ability to persevere and overcome with such indomitable spirit is something everyone can take with them in his honor and memory. I am so glad to meet Kenneth. I hope he, too, takes the inspiration he feels today and shares it with others. I think he will.

  8. A fitting tribute, Otto, for an amazing gift to mankind.

  9. I, too, felt incredibly inspired by Mandela and wrote a tribute asking myself and everyone else what kind of legacy each one of us is leaving behind: http://beautyalongtheroad.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/nelson-mandela-light-of-inspiration/

  10. Reblogged this on kevinidehen and commented:
    Stories will be told to our descendants about Mandela, the great man…..My hero!

  11. thank you for sharing, Otto. he left a great legacy.

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