Mandela’s Passing: How will you remember him?

With Keller’s stellar obit in mind, many mourn over the former South African president’s death, but Nelson Mandela’s immortal legacy remains.

Those like myself born after or too young to recall his leadership to end apartheid rely on history to inform us of his deeds. But let’s realize that the man media is honoring wasn’t always warmly received by everyone.

Mandela was quite the troublemaker in his younger years — pun intended — and even today many reflect on the younger Mandela’s mindset.

Zakes Mda recalls a Mandela who loves his blackness despite many contradictions. And while many remember Mandela’s accomplishments, there is still much to be done for South Africa and many other countries dealing with poverty brought on by corruption, politics and inequalities colored by historical politics and injustice. In Mda’s own words:

Mandela leaves a proud legacy of freedom and human rights, of tolerance and reconciliation. Alas, some of his compatriots are trampling on it. I cannot speak for him and say he was pained by what he saw happening to his country in his last days. I had not spoken with him for years before he died. But I can say that the Mandela I knew would have been pained.

Mandela’s life should challenge us to reflect on our own contradictions. There exists a material impact of racial constructs on society today despite this flawed mindset of colorblindness. There’s no doubt Mandela would ask us to question where and how our political and economic values could to establish opportunities and equality for all.

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