Hard View: A Walk Well Walked By Hannatu Musawa

Hannatu Musawa
Columnist: 
Hannatu Musawa

Nelson Mandela is ageing and his “spirit and sparkle” is fading, his wife has said, as it is disclosed that South Africa's former president is suffering from a recurring lung infection and has been hospitalized. Millions all over the world yet again hold their breath at the news that the Madiba, one of the greatest moral and political international heroes of our time, is ill and fighting for his life.

Nelson Mandela feels more like a father than a famous figure to the likes of myself who for the duration of our lives recognise him as the central persona in one of the most gripping and moving political dramas in the world. His story has been one of strife, great effort, obstacle, new hope, and the ultimate achievement. And even in the midst of his darkest days he demonstrated with vigour the task of a great leader by leading his country from the shallow hole it was in to the elevated height of freedom. He did this with the spirit of a saint and a perception of strength, bravery, generosity, courage and forgiveness. Nelson Mandela is a true freedom fighter whose love for his people has no end and whose life and personal success will be remembered long after the world has forgotten the evils of the oppression that once upon a time engulfed his people. He is a star who has brightened the lives of many and set the ultimate example for all leaders in Africa because he is one with no compromise for self interest but of focusing on what is good for his nation. The radiance of his personality has touched the lives of many over the years and we hope to continue drinking from his river of humanity as we pray he pulls through.

In a role seldom witnessed in Africa, he selflessly dedicated his life to fight against one of the most powerful systems of oppression ever conceived and today stands as a decisive testimony for the victory of nobility and hope over desolation and odium, of forgiveness and love over revenge and hate. His life personifies what a true patriot should do and how they should behave under the most trying of circumstances. The spirits of all the revolutionaries and freedom fighters of this world past and present surely would smile blessings upon him because he always stood fair against all kinds of domination and was willing to give his life for it. In his own words Nelson Mandela once said, “I have fought against white domination and against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a free society in which all live together in harmony, with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.

Growing up in South Africa as a young black boy in the first half of the last century must have been a real ordeal as a result of the apartheid system of government in operation. Blacks were segregated, abused, persecuted and treated little better than animals. The apartheid regime considered black people almost like savage non human beings and enacted laws that regarded them accordingly. But despite such adversity, Nelson Mandela from a young age was always the fighter. Instead of accepting this unreasonable system of government, he made the decision to resist and began his lifelong journey to free South Africa from the shackles of repression. Little did he know that his resolve back then would lead to the demise of apartheid, the road to the presidency and the ultimate honour of a Nobel peace award. Today, thanks to the personal effort and sacrifice of men such as Mandela, South Africa is a free state with equal opportunities for all its citizens and the pride of Africa.

Of all his sacrifices the most heart wrenching is without a doubt the sacrifice of his private life and youth for his people and beliefs. I once read an interview with one of his daughters in which she described the solitary of growing up with a father that was incarcerated and branded by the government and the loneliness of having to share him with the whole of South Africa upon his release. But even before his incarceration, Mandela was forced to live apart from his family. In an attempt to survive and evade the authorities, Mandela moved from place to place and adopted a number of camouflages such as that of a labourer or driver. He became so good at avoiding the authorities that were stationed in every nook and cranny that at a point he was labelled the ‘black pimpernel’.

His childhood and upbringing could not have been more apt for the life-role he was to play. He was born in the South African town of Qunu, Transkei in 1918. His father, Henry Mandela, was chief councillor to the acting paramount chief in his town. When his father died, Mandela became the chief's ward and was groomed for the chieftainship. From a young age he and his lifelong friend and fellow freedom fighter Oliver Tambo were driven to participate in the fight to free their people. As a student he was said to both be extremely studious and ambitious and eventually ended up starting a BA degree.

However in 1940, during the course of his degree, he was expelled from University for actively participating in a student strike. He went on to complete his degree by doing a correspondence course after which he enrolled to become a lawyer. After joining the ANC, he helped found the youth league of the party in 1944. He put in many years of dedication to his cause and eventually became head of the defiance-campaign of the party. This empowered him to travel across the country to organize a resistance to discriminatory legislation campaign. During this period he was arrested and confined a couple of times but that didn’t stop him from forming individual underground cells of the ANC upon his release. In addition, he and Oliver Tambo proceeded to open the first black legal firm in the country and even though the Law Society was petitioned to strike Mandela off the roll of barristers, his law firm and career survived.

In 1960, after the Sharpeville massacre and after his release from yet another detention, Mandela as leader of the military wing of the ANC went underground to lead a campaign for a new national convention. By 1962 he went to Algeria for military training and to build a militia but upon his return he was arrested. On a charge of leaving the country illegally and incitement to strike Mandela conducted his own defence but lost and was convicted for five years in November 1962. It was during the service of that sentence he and seven others, Walter Sisulu, Dennis Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Mosoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni and Ahmed Kathrada, were charged with sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. During this trial Mandela’s resolve never faulted and he continuously told the court; “I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor for the love of violence but as a result of a sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.” But despite their defence the judge remained convinced that their behaviour was not borne out of a need for the attainment of equal rights for the African people but out of a warped desire for revolution and personal ambition. Luckily for the world he stopped short of imposing the supreme penalty of death and instead opted for life imprisonment. While in prison, Mandela never compromised his political principles and was always a source of strength for the other prisoners. The apartheid government numerously offered Mandela the reduction of his sentence as long as he abided by certain conditions, but every time they offered, Mandela would refuse on the notion that “prisoners were not able to enter into contracts, only free men could negotiate”.

After decades of prison hard labour, Nelson Mandela and his colleagues were eventually released on the 11th of February 1990. On that bright day at 4:14, almost an hour late, dressed in a light brown suit and tie, holding Winnie’s hand a jubilant Mandela appeared at the gates of his prison smiled at the ecstatic crowds and punched the air in a victory salute before taking a silver BMW Sedan to freedom. With his tenacity unblemished, he went back to his life's work, determined to end the struggle he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991 at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa, Nelson Mandela was elected president of the ANC. On 10th May 1994, he won and became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. And unlike most other African leaders, even though he was at the apex, he retired in June 1999 and relinquished power with no fuss after only one term in office. Before being taken to hospital, he was known to peacefully reside in his birth place with his wife Graca where his most private of moments were filled by his greatest of pleasure of watching the sun set while listening to classical music and reading to his grand children. Accounts suggest he usually got up by 4.30am, exercised by 5am and took breakfast of plain porridge, fresh fruit and fresh milk by 6.30 while reading the days newspapers.

Despite severe provocation, Nelson Mandela never answered racism with racism but symbolised the triumph of the human spirit over man’s inhumanity to man. His life has been an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived and to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation. Nelson Mandela has never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and justice.

Words cannot describe how blessed this generation is to have lived during the times of a man like Nelson Mandela. I and millions of people around the world who love him dearly have learned so much from him and will continue to cherish him. If the world can have more people like him, it indeed would be a much better place to live in. I know that it’s every person’s destiny to one day leave this World, but for reasons more selfish than anything, the World somehow feels like a better place with Nelson Mandella in it. He reminds me of a late woman named Hajia Wowo that I loved so much but more than that when I consider him I do not see a person, I see an institution of goodness and a beacon of strength…I see my conscience!

In his autobiography; ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ Mandela describes his struggle as a journey and of that journey he says, “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” And indeed as we pray for his fast recovery, for the great Madiba it has been, for the last 9 decades a walk well walked! “Dear God, I pray for better health for Mandella.”
 
I invite you to follow me on Twitter -@hanneymusawa

 

Comments
17 comment(s)
Post a comment

HAUSA/FULANI ARE THE GREAT ACHIEVERS

Although u hide ur tribe, been igbo/any unpopular ethenic grp, i really blv u cant develop up to hausas stage. They were d achvas historically not damegs as u said. 1c again we have many dat pfmd bettr dan mandela.

Get well Madiba!

The ever-creative Hanny is at it again! Nice one ma. I was so carried away i felt like nothing but following the foot steps of "the Madiba". He is such a source of hope and encouragement, especially for well-meaning Nigerians. Get well Mandella!

Appreciate somthin worthy n be great too

Those who fail to see clearly the artistic ingenuity displayed by Hajia Hanatu bt rather ignorantly n blindly condemn her,lacks knowledge at al....Hajia,keep it coming,we are learning.Papa Africa wishin u speedy recovery?

Why are u ppl so fixated on Sis. Hannatu's ethnic affiliation??

read the context of her message and stop attacking her because she is from the north.

She did not create boko haram. even if she is related to abacha or buhari so what?

More ink to your pen, sis. hannatu.

We southerners bash and whine about northerner too much, it shows the north is really ahead of us in the game... we better get our Heads and Houses right or else we all in SS we end up in the CREEKS with Asari n Polo lording over us

When General Sani Abacha took

When General Sani Abacha took over, he set up the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) headed by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Hannatu. The PTF did not meet the yearnings of Niger Deltans as its mandate covered all parts of the country. With well meaning 9jas saying that the PTF carried out more projects in northern parts of the country, than d SS. So youth restiveness in the Niger Delta assumed a higher gear. Mandela would have evenly distributed the oil wealth from the SS not abacha. Abacha convened a National Constitutional Conference (NCC) in 1994, where conferees agreed on at least 13 per cent derivation. Abacha did not live to implement the recommendation cause of his greed. His successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar included it in the 1999 Constitution, which he handed over to President Olusegun Obasanjo who had Odi on his mind from jail on May 29, 1999. On his part, Obasanjo scrapped the PTF and established (NDDC)for Hannatu and Buhari.

its a pity

@chuks,udam and d rest of u clueless,pointless and shameless commentors, u r nothing but a self embarrassment! U don't even read to understand d context. What a shame! If u can't read well better get some1 that can read well to explain it 4 ur dumb head!!!

Tasteless

You just reeled out what we already know....probably revised Wikipedia. Please draw a parallel and specifics with Nigerian leaders (especially those who think they are born to rule). Stop being on the fence in your write ups!

most of you here are

most of you here are commenting out of context, and what you are fond of is only ethnic bigotry, my sister has spoken very well, and she spoke of reality, together with facts and references which are clear to any mentally sound and reasonable person, but so sad most of you here are so dull and dumb that you can't understand her simple crystal clear point of view and vocabulary, it's disheartening when the people that are claiming to be educated, reasoned and think so naive, your comments are just useless, clueless and pointless, keep up my sister, we are 100% behind you.

Great Piece

This's a great profile. Mandela deserves all the honour. He's simply an inspiration.

How many of us can stand through all the pains and humiliations he went through?

Food for thought!

Hannatu, don't mind them. I'm

Hannatu, don't mind them. I'm Igbo&I love you and your articles to pieces.

We the core Hausa shall

We the core Hausa shall enforce Emirs as traditional rulers in the whole of Southern Nigeria. We shall also rename all the Southern cities to Hausa names.

Buhari was with abacha when abiola was arrested- and ken hanged

Hannatu Buhari, Kensarowiwa just wanted to contest election into the Senate-to enable him contribute to the national debate on d environment- in the oil rich Niger Delta-Abacha a northerner, hanged kensarowiwa and poured acid on his lifeless body-Abiola a Yoruba contested elections and won! The Fulani North via IBB said no to him. He was poisoned and killed by abdul salam. Yet the same people who murdered these true patriots of 9ja, see Buhari an executioner in the same class with Mandela. If Mandela had been a Nigerian, the Fulani North, would have killed him long b4 now. Look at boko haram-murdering people as if they are goats-yet we hardly see u condemn dem in public-buhari is a hard sell! There are Moslems in South Africa and Ghana-but none of the Islamic sects over there kill in the name of Allah or buhari-so stop wasting yr time-with these buhari ideas of yours-Mama, we have had enough of them and yr artificial looks in d Islamic republic of buhari

In Nigeria, Hausa/Fulani will never make Nelson Mandela thrive..

@Hannatu, If Nelson Mandela were to be a Nigerian and he is not Hausa/Fulani, he would not have thrived after all the ordeal he passed through. Hausa/Fulani are the most unrelenting and oppressive group in Africa. Any body that finds him or herself in one country where Hausa/Fulani are in large numbers must have pity on him/herself. The person must do any fight to wriggle him/herself and nation out of the same country shared with Hausa/Fulani. For close to four decades, Hausa/Fulani did irreparable and unforgivable damage on the fabric of Nigeria. And they and their Kanem Bornu cousins are still doing the damages. So, Hanatu, take your eyes off decent people and decent South Africa where Nelson Mandela has been made to become a myth because his worth was recognized by South Africans?

A job weldone mrs musawa. Pls

A job weldone mrs musawa. Pls dont mind those stupid commentators they dont know anything but hate. They are worth enemies of our country than Boko Haram. Mtssss they are BLOKHEAD.

Our hearts goes out.......

Our hearts goes out there for the speedly recovering of our papa Africa .

Boko bride

Photoshop Hannatu....this same mandela will not survive a sunday in arewa but amadinnija (the mad one from iran) and osama will most definitely be celebrated.

Don't Even Think About It, Ms. Hannatu

And I quote: "When I consider him...I see my conscience" Hannatu, don't even bother to compare yourself to the Great Mandela, you are not even an inch of the man. You couldn't even summon the courage to publicly condemn Boko Haram, and now you have the impetus to compare yourself to the Great Mandela. This attests to how highly you conniptously arrogate greatness to your self, what a shame.