Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Words Were Spoken But The Actions Spoke Louder

Important people from all over the world gathered in South Africa to celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. They made speeches, spewed forth a tsunami of rhetoric that washed over the assembled crowd and moved the listeners to cheers as the dignitaries behaved like restless children. The words brought forth reactions that did not match precisely what was being said.
The missus is not laughing

The man who inherited the mantle from Nelson Mandela was soundly derided as he spoke, his words lacking the power to pull the wool over the collective eyes of the masses. The cameras in FNB Stadium pointed at the American president and the crowd cheered his image on the big screen. When their own president was featured, they expressed their disapproval. They are the ones living the legacy, and the ones who are discovering that not all men are created equal when it comes to leadership and talent.

For the deaf, the South African government that Nelson Mandela helped to birth provided an interpreter. It turns out that the interpreter was a fraud. The hand gestures were nothing more than random movements that said nothing but expressed the government's inability to perform the most basic and simple task. The government is run by those who followed Mandela. The government is a part of his legacy, in spite of the lofty praise heaped upon him.

The former archbishop of South Africa, the storied Desmond Tutu, gave the closing speech to a thinning crowd. He had to shout at them to sit still and listen, when the crowd indicated that it had had its fill of words piled on words. While he spoke, his home in Cape Town was being robbed. It was not the first time someone had broken in to help themselves to the Anglican minister's possessions.

For all the glory and accolades, the lasting legacy of Nelson Mandela depends on what happens now that he is gone. He started something he could not finish because none of us are granted enough time to do all that we would like to accomplish in our lifetime. His enduring legacy will not be shaped by the words spoken over his dead body, but by the actions of those who carry his flag.

Those people now have the right to select their leaders, even though those leaders are unlikely to be part of the political party that Mandela founded.

That, ultimately, could become the greatest success realized from his years of struggle.

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