Face to Face with Mandela

I met Madiba in person in 2008 one-on-one at his home in Qunu…

He is an unusual icon…
Soft spoken and without guile…
He has lost his capacity to get angry against persons…
In prison, he emptied all his anger on the system, which pitched him against his fellow human beings, white or black…

He held my hand and said to me and I will never forget, ‘a man who derives his relevance from oppressing others is himself oppressed and desperately needs all the help even more than the oppressed…’

As to the source of energy at old age, he said, the prison provided him a place of reflection and rest…
Reflection instilled in him a sense of mission and rest imparted in him physical and inner strength…

As to the greatest legacy he would leave to our world,
He gave me few pats on the back and said to me in the words of Winston Churchill,
‘To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour…’ He concluded by saying that he desired that all men will not become mere spectators and commentators of his unusually impactful life and times but will embrace it as a template to spur them to respond to the call of DESTINY when they are tapped on the shoulder and offer a chance to make a difference…

He says he believes many are being tapped right now…who must respond in honour of his legacy…

He revealed to me as the bodyguard signaled that my assigned time with the icon was up thus: ‘Albert Einstein said, ‘a hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received.” He had a final handshake with me and I stood to leave his presence he said,’My Greatest Legacy is My EXAMPLE…FOLLOW IT…’

Wow!!! It was a meeting of a lifetime. As I was been driven back to Johannesburg, I remember vividly the apt words of Thomas Morell, ‘the first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.’

As I relish in this experience of a lifetime my alarm went off…
Alas, it was a dream…
Yet no regrets…
The lessons remain intact…
I’ve met him one-on-one, having met his principles and values…
Do have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his knees on the LORD’s day.

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