As you have probably heard by now, Nelson Mandela has died. He has lost his long battle with ill health, and people great and humble alike are remembering him. One particular tribute has struck a note with me, though. Prime Minister David Cameron said “A light has gone out in the world”. Mr. Prime Minister, I must disagree.
Nelson Mandela, the person, is gone. We will hear no new words of guidance, of peace, of reconciliation. But the words and deeds he has done will only be lost if we, the beneficiaries direct and indirect, forget him. Then, and only then, will his light be extinguished. For if even one person speaks out for equality, if one person stands for the rights of others, if one person keeps alive the ideas and ideals of Mr. Mandela, then his light will never be extinguished.
So it is up to us. We, who lived when Mandela first was imprisoned, we who watched his struggle and leadership from behind bars, we who saw him freed to become the first black President of South Africa, and we, who share with the South African people both our sorrow at his passing and our joy of knowing of him, to carry that memory. We must take up his light as a torch to guide us to a better world, where race truly means nothing, where all have equal access to peace and freedom, where we can truly be as one. Only then, will we be truly worthy of the light he gave us.
Godspeed, and Rest Easy.