Every year, on the 18th of July, we observe a Day of Goodwill, during which we are challenged to dedicate at least 67 minutes of our busy schedules to giving back to those less fortunate. This momentary pause from our race for personal gain serves as a reminder of Madiba and his selflessness. For those brief 67 minutes, the world becomes a slightly better place, offering hope that humanity still possesses the capacity to effect positive change.
This day of hope reminds us of the countless years Mandela spent sacrificing himself in pursuit of a better future. One can't help but wonder what it's like to spend "27 years" in confinement. Surely, his thoughts were not consumed by trivialities like daily meals or how the media or his supporters would consider which filter to use on his photograph.
Or were they?
To remain sane during such an extended period, one must be driven by a grander idea—an idea greater than oneself. It is the kind of idea that makes enduring hardships bearable. These ideas provide solace and encouragement, assuring us that despite challenging circumstances, a better tomorrow is possible. They ground us in our convictions and guarantee that everything will eventually be well.
Let us set aside Mandela the man and our personal opinions of him. Instead, I propose that Africa should be guided and inspired by the idea of Mandela. It is the idea of showing empathy towards those less fortunate, caring for the impoverished, selflessly working towards a better future, and possessing unwavering conviction in a cause.
Africa needs the spirit of Madiba Magic to reshape our realities. If that spirit could halt the potential eruption of civil war during South Africa's darkest hours, then why can't that same Madiba Magic facilitate sustainable development for small businesses? Why can't young Bidemi Zakariyau Akande receive meaningful support—67 assists—to compete on the global stage? Why can't the rainbow touch maritime industries, enabling Ngazi Qongqo to thrive within that sector?
I propose that the idea of Mandela is a more palatable and progressive force for Africans to embrace than the man himself. Therefore, on the upcoming Mandela Day, let us commit ourselves to the idea of Mandela as a driving force for a better Africa—a vision aligned with the goals and targets of Agenda 2063.