All the memories I have of him are only but the reflections of his image, reflections I could only capture from my television screen yet it feels as though I had had a more personal contact with him. His voice, his words, his expressions and his life were indeed the perfect example of what the fairest of souls could exude. Oh! I am amazed at the extent of beauty that emanated from the soul of one man, one man who chose to live beyond the ordinary, just one man who conducted himself in the most amazing manner, one man who lived and died a hero. One man who was and still is the perfect example of the strength of the human spirit, persevering in the face of great difficulty, enduring great pain, self-denying fleeting pleasures, conquering mediocrity, withstanding opposition, upholding sincerity, forgiving effortlessly, living exceptionally, dying valiantly. So peaceful yet so courageous, so simple yet so intriguing, so successful yet so humble and even in his final moments, so fragile and yet so fearless.
He lived a life of the most intrepidity and integrity, such an extraordinary and legendary life! But finally, came the day, the moment when this incomparable man took his last breathe, closed his eyes in death and soared to worlds unknown.
When the sad news came, I broke down, could not hold back my tears. I mourned and still mourn the loss of a man I had never met but who touched my life in ways I cannot entirely explain with my fingers on the keyboard of my computer. I resisted the urge to express my hurt on social media platforms because that wouldn’t suffice.
I made an indelible promise to myself on the note of his life. Firstly, a commitment to keep the story of this man alive and secondly, a commitment to embrace his principles. I commenced the fulfillment of that simple yet worthy promise by telling my 3year old son a brief story of this great man who once lived. This 3 year old kid was so intrigued by the story particularly as it made me struggle to hide the tears of the pain I felt at the demise of this great man.
Here I went “….. this man was so strong- stronger that ‘Ben10’, so kind- he loved to play with children a lot, he was full of goodness- he helped more people than ‘Spiderman’ could ever, he was very intelligent- smarter than ‘Mickey mouse’……… I went on a bit and at the end of my story comes this little voice- “mummy, what is his name?” His name is Nelson Mandela I responded as I showed him pictures of this great man on my mobile device. A couple of hours later, I heard my son calling out “mummy! Mummy! Come and see Nelson Mandela on TV” when I got to him he looked at me and excitedly said, “Mummy, Nelson Mandela is a good man, I like him”, I smiled.
There are a myriad of lessons for generations from the life and journey of this one man. His intelligence, bravery, influence, good-will, principles, words and soul will teach even the simplest of hearts the true essence of a purposeful existence.
Ask me to characterize Nelson Mandela 10 times in two words and here is what you will get:
1. Selflessness exemplified
2. Humility personified
3. Heroism demystified
4. Humanity dignified
5. Leadership typified
6. Inspiration simplified
7. Courage intensified
8. Dignity unmodified
9. Peace signified
10. Excellence solidified
I am not sure if I should call this a tribute but I am certain this is more than a mere expression of grief. I choose to stand for and live by what Nelson Mandela represents, what about you?
If he could, we can!
Jesmine Chinwe Onyeukwu is a Productivity/Simplicity Coach, Speaker, Writer, Trainer and the CEO of JessylsCharm, Nigeria’s first and leading Professional Organising/Productivity Company. JessylsCharm helps clients beautify their lives, reclaim their effectiveness and boost their productivity with her space, paper and time management solutions.