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Let's find a Madiba within us

Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Winnie Mandela.
Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Winnie Mandela.
Image: Johan Kuus

It was yet another successful Mandela Day as people across the country, and elsewhere in the world, engaged in activities to honour late former president Nelson Mandela.

Although not a public holiday, Madiba's birthday has become an important milestone on our calender. Just like on Freedom Day, many of us use the day to reflect on the progress we have made since attaining liberation and participate in events that are aimed at assisting those who are less fortunate.

This year's activities were made even more special by the fact that the date marked 100 years since Mandela was born.

Besides an uplifting speech by former US president Barack Obama and a thought-provoking sermon by the giant African intellectual, Professor Patrick Lumumba, there were many occasions over the past few days when South Africans were called upon to pause and reflect.

The clarion call, which we should embrace beyond this day and month, is for each of us to be the Mandela legacy, to find a Madiba within us.

This we can't do by merely cleaning the streets or painting school walls for 67 minutes every July 18.

It requires that we remain true to Madiba's values 365 days.

Freedom has uplifted many of us from poverty to an economic position where we can fend for ourselves.

The growth of the black middle class since the collapse of apartheid in 1994 has provided our country with a strong base from which many more people can be uplifted out of poverty.

The future of this country is therefore in our hands and with the little that we have, we should dedicate ourselves to continuing with Madiba's struggle by helping those who are less fortunate than us whenever we can.

Yes, we should demand that the taxes that we pay to the state should be used properly and to the benefit of all.

But we cannot expect government to solve all our problems at once.

If this country is to succeed, and if Madiba's vision of a prosperous, peaceful and nonracial democracy is to be realised, the black middle class should - through its actions - become a leading force for transformation.

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