A few hours back I learnt about the sad loss of Nelson Mandela, a man recognised as one of the few people who put his life on the line for others.
Back in the day over in the UK our efforts were what I would describe as ‘in passing’. Margret Thatcher resisted sanctions as some of us would go to rallys and wear the T-Shirts. For example, when I first started running I would always wear the same white T-Shirt that proclaimed / had emblazoned upon it, ‘Sanctions Yes, Apartheid No’. That was my feeble attempt of protest. I wasn’t on Robben Island secluded from friends, family or a quality of life that everyone has a right to.
Personally, I will always keep the impression of him being a humble, dignified, caring and inclusive leader. He knew that taking the struggle to another level would challenge the system. His silenced 27 years of exile was a scar on the system that cut deep into the ruling powers. Sadly change was too slow and too many deaths and human rights abuses were conducted in parallel and on route. It was indeed a long walk to freedom.
He can be also remembered for being there during the days of reconciliation, days that in some minds will and cannot be erased.
In many ways the road to freedom for both Sikhs and South African’s reveals parallels. Our (Sikhs) struggle against the cold hearts of human right abusers & disrespect of our freedom fighters, during the British occupancy, Nazis rule (ww1 + ww2) and today’s troubles. Our road to equality for all religions still has a rough ride before mutual respect and understanding is reached.
Back to South Africa, we need to understand that although change has occurred in South Africa it is struggling with many socio-economic issues. In June 2013 from: http://www.fin24.com/Economy/Are-South-Africans-truly-free-20130617 it was suggested that:
South Africans are not truly free and more needs to be done to bring about productive employment and property ownership, said United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa
In addition, in many developing countries the police have not moved on and the legacy of backroom deals continues.
The UK will see the release of Mandela – The Long Walk to Freedom. Let us all watch it and remember that his spirit for freedom lives in us all. Keep the faith my brothers and sisters.