Lagos — The news that Nelson Mandela has passed away will affect us all profoundly and in many different ways.
For me, his death signifies the passing of a great leader and a rare human being, who sacrificed the prime of his life, in pursuit of an egalitarian and fair society.
Mandela was a true leader who understood the essence of leadership - to serve, to inspire, to make a difference.
There is much I have learnt from his example, not least:
- His passion and commitment to Africa and his country.
- His ability to act as a unifier and healer of wounds. By his own example and by his implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he allowed South Africans, of all colours, bridge the deep, deep chasms that lay between them and learn to be reconciled with the new dawn, in a manner that was bereft of parochialism or partisanship. This was truly extraordinary.
- His clear vision and his resilient approach to realizing it, despite the most difficult of circumstances.
This ability to articulate his vision in such a compelling and consistent way enabled a deeply divided country to begin to come together and taught lessons to the World.
The effect of these actions, transformed a nation, showed the world the power of vision and that a single person can bring about massive change.
We need more leaders like Mandela in Africa, leaders who can help us build this new vision of a continent unshackled and powerful, in spite of its history.
Mandela's death will cause us to look again at his achievements, through the lens of the legacy that he has left.
This is a chapter turned in the history of our continent and I hope his leadership baton will be picked up by the next generation across the continent and I pray we will all be inspired by his spirit.