I spent most of the day in bed, exhausted and drained from the sadness I felt from videos and photos of the violence in South Africa Thant came up in my Facebook memory. Sadness enveloped me temporarily. I asked myself what Nelson Mandela would be thinking and feeling if he was alive and I asked myself also when we will ever get it right in Africa and love each other! We are one people! About 11 years ago, our class under the Africa Leadership Institute of West Africa under the Aspen Global Leadership Institute visited Roben Island as part of our class activities. I was in Capetown, South Africa with other fellows from other groups from around the world under the Aspen Global Leadership Network and part of our one-week meeting was a visit to the Island which harbored the prison Mandela spent many years in. I entered Mandela’s prison room and saw some of his personal items like the ‘poop’ bucket, blanket and a few books. I left the room and walked down to the quarry where he worked daily breaking stones while in prison. The tour guide shared stories that left some of us in tears. I left that facility determined to tow same path he towed-the part of forgiveness no matter how deeply hurt and maligned I am. I might not have gotten it right all the time but never to the point of holding grudges for too long and scheming evil against anyone. I forgive and then love from afar! That visit changed a lot about me. It did! This evening I asked myself if Mandela’s countrymen didn’t learn any lesson in forgiveness from him? And what offence did Nigerians commit that warranted such deaths and violence meted on them one year ago?
I reached a conclusion that though apartheid ended decades ago, in their minds, they are most likely still bound and hurting. They never healed. Only the hurt, hurt others. This violence happens from time to time and there’s no guarantee that this won’t happen again. Things are falling apart for them over there and even here in their homeland, the centre cannot hold. They are at crossroads and this isn’t the time to judge their decisions. This is the time for us all to stand with them and pray them through this time and then determine to get things right in our country to regain our pride as we cannot claim to be giants anymore. Some of us condemning south Africans have killed and destroyed each other in diverse ways. We have made others contemplate suicide, we have made life unbearable for others, we are not so different from the folks in South Africa who are destroying our own. We destroy our own over here too. We need to decide to fix ourselves, one by one as we do so it will have multiplier effects and we will all be happy, happy to an extent!! The extent is left for the future to determine.