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Rawlings in ‘supernatural Mandela’ tribute

BY: Graphic.com.gh

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has in a tribute to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, described him as possessing an almost supernatural ability to reach beyond himself to be the persona needed at each point of his service to humanity.

He said the best tribute to Mandela for all, would be a resolve to be an example of what dedication, perseverance and commitment to a cause can do to our society.

The former Ghanaian leader said the late Mandela was man enough to conquer the bitterness of almost three decades of violence, injustice and pain to come out as a man of peace.

“The man that left prison was - a sage, wise, salted and fine”. Only a personality of steely determination and resolve could rise above the deep pain he endured,” the former President said.

Speaking at a ceremony organized by some civil society organisations and youth groups to mark the 100th birthday of the former South African President at his office on Wednesday, Flt Lt Rawlings took the opportunity to question aspects of Nelson Mandela’s will which he described as un-Mandela like and incompatible with his character.

Former President Rawlings said he found that aspect of Mandela’s will strange and wondered why those who had the opportunity to re-examine it could not do so before Mandela’s beloved Winnie Mandela passed on.
“Do some of us feel threatened by such a towering and reverential figure? Do we feel his values and principles will elevate standards so high as to block the doors to corruptible tendencies?


“Have we allowed this deformity of space, as a way of bringing him down a little? I find it unfortunate that this violation of his character could not be investigated and rectified before his and our beloved Winnie Mandela passed on,” the former President pondered.

Still eulogizing Mandela, Flt Lt Rawlings said the anti-apartheid hero was steady and committed, remaining true and firm in his convictions in spite of years of helplessness, pain and bitterness.

He said Mandela’s “strength and courage served as the fire that kept the freedom fight alight and kept him and many of his incarcerated colleagues alive and focused.”

“The interesting thing is that a just cause no doubt might have battered followers and sometimes stunted the passion of the battle for freedom, but there was no way it could completely be squashed and de-energized because it was a struggle for truth; a bitter toil in defence of the truth. Their cause was a just one,” the former Ghanaian President said.

Other speakers at the event included Tegha King, President of Youths and Students for Peace, Dr. Marshall De Sauza, founder of WAIT UK, Mawuli Kobla Asamani, Deputy Country Head of UN Youth Ghana, Joana Boateng of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Dr. Donald Agumenu of Water for Rural Africa.

Groups that participated at the ceremony included Water for Rural Africa, Youth and Students for Peace and UN Youth Ghana.

Others were WAIT UK, National Union of Ghana Students and Young Diplomats.

Former President Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, also participated in an event organized by the South African High Commission to commemorate Mandela’s centennial at the Labadi Beach Hotel on Wednesday evening.

Find below the full text of his address.


ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS AT NELSON MANDELA CENTENIAL EVENT

WEDNESDAY JULY 18, 2018


Distinguished Guests,
Members of Civil Society Organisations and Youth Groups,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Our presence here today in deference to the memory of a true global hero and icon of our times means more to me than the symbolic recognition of today as his 100th birthday.

Nelson Mandela immortalized all the ideals that he stoutly stood for and defended his whole life with. Apart from the exceptionally obvious example that he was as a man, freedom fighter, President and world icon, Mandela personified the character, responsibility and power of youth: single-minded, focused, fearless passion and conviction. He cultivated an inner strength that dared to make things happen.

In spite of his long years of helplessness, pain and bitterness Mandela was steady and committed, remaining true and firm in his convictions. His strength and courage served as the fire that kept the freedom fight alight and kept him and many of his incarcerated colleagues alive and focused.

The interesting thing is that a just cause no doubt might have battered followers and sometimes stunted the passion of the battle for freedom, but there was no way it could completely be squashed and de-energized because it was a struggle for truth; a bitter toil in defence of the truth. Their cause was a just one.

It is easy to relate Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle to the June 4 uprising and the quest for truth and integrity. The exceptional success of June 4th was due to the popularity of the cause and the quest to free Ghana from the oppression of the corrupt few.

What made Mandela stand out was the fact that he was man enough to conquer the bitterness. The man that left prison was - as opposed to the view of being a broken man - a sage, wise, salted, and fine. The history of violence, injustice and pain surprisingly produced a leader of peace. How was this possible? Only a personality of steely determination and resolve could rise above the deep pain he endured.

Significantly, he was abreast with the times and his role of leadership within a new context. South Africa and indeed the world as at the time of his incarceration was vastly different from the world he was reintroduced to 27 years later.

Yes, while many considered him as a freedom fighter being broken in prison, in pain and anguish, he was hibernating. The fight and strength of perseverance in him could not be shattered or destroyed. Character withstands changes in circumstances. It always responds to a conscious or unconscious nourishment. Mandela tapped into that state of unconsciousness with astonishing success.

One thing is certain. Mandela had an almost supernatural ability to reach beyond himself to be the persona that the people needed at each point of his service to humanity.

I cannot end the profile of this outstanding Black African freedom fighter without making a comment on the attempt to deform the noble character of this man through the will he left behind.

That part of the will was not only incompatible with his nature and character but this was simply un-Mandela like. I find it truly strange, yet be shocked by it, and yet refuse to examine this violation.

Do some of us feel threatened by such a towering and reverential figure? Do we feel his values and principles will elevate standards so high as to block the doors to corruptible tendencies?

Have we allowed this deformity of space, as a way of bringing him down a little? I find it unfortunate that this violation of his character could not be investigated and rectified before his and our beloved Winnie Mandela passed on.

Even as we ponder over this infraction, it is an honour to join you here to celebrate Nelson Madhiba Mandela’s centennial. The Nelson I knew personally was sharp, witty and possessed an extraordinary sense of infectious humour.

As we celebrate his life and impact on the world let us resolve to be an example of what dedication, perseverance and commitment to a cause can do to our society. That will be the best tribute to Mandela.

Thank you.