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3 things we SHOULD change about ourselves this Mandela Month


By Sanjeev “Mahatma” Ghandi

The late Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy looms large over South Africa and the world beyond. That’s the true mark of icon – the reference point in peace negotiations and anything good that elevates the dignity of humanity.

For South Africans, is there a better way put into practice what Mandela’s ideal than partake wholeheartedly in good causes for the community during what is known as Mandela Month, July 2016?

That said, while there are a number of practical ways in which we can make a difference to society, everything start with us as individuals. This is more sustainable than the exercise of donating ill-fitting clothes that are out of fashion to a charity organisation!

1. Firmness of conviction

Mandela was a man who stood by his word, and was not swayed by anything. Once he made a pledge, as far as humanly possible he adhered to it.

As a demonstration of his discipline, during his incarceration, Mandela is said to have resisted overtures of the apartheid regime to release him on condition that he would renounce his allegiance to the African National Congress and communism (then he was a hard-core Leninist).

  1. Discipline and Diligence

Mandela was good time keeper, something which is acutely lacking in our work ethos. On the contrary, as South Africans, we always come up with a lame excuse for late delivery. Mediocrity has become our benchmark.

There is a reason why there is a concept called time management. Indeed, we have to learn to manage time.

  1. Excellence

Mandela wanted South Africans to aspire to be the best in everything he did, and he repeatedly mentioned the value of excellence. It is just sad that few people have carried over the baton in both private and public sector entities, but it is not too late to revise our conduct.

Granted, events Post-1994 are not going along the trajectory he mapped. Indeed, he warned that detours and cul-de-sac were to be tolerated but not aspired for as we march towards the Promised Land of equality and prosperity of South Africans, regardless of colour and creed. He only started the marathon, we have to finish it, and the onus is entirely on us individuals.

Born and raised in 1980s and 1990s United Kingdom, where his parents were South African, political exiles, Sanjeev “Mahatma” Gupta is a freelance columnist based in the melting pot of Chatsworth, Durban. He has British demeanour and a South African mind.

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