Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Madiba

Two simple herdboys who learned life's lessons out in the fields became great leaders of their nations. One was a poet and musician who wrote the most beloved shepherd poem in history. The other was a lawyer who spent his prime years in prison. They both understood elemental truths of leadership by herding animals.

It's something to meditate on: the two men who came to leadership by service. David and Madiba have many traits in common. Their integrity, courage, grace under attack, forgiveness, and failings. Think on them this day, Madiba's 95th birthday.

If there were something I would wish for Madiba today, it would be that his legacy continues long after he leaves us. He paid a high personal price for his country. He lost out on many family blessings because he put his people first. I believe, in the end, he gained far more--and a farther reaching family of many shades of skin.

Recently Isabel and I visited a museum and viewed an amazing platinum sculpture entitled: Pure Mind--Rare Vision--Eternal Spirit. A Bavarian artist, Tom Rucker, visited Khayelitsha (a township near here) and asked the young people there who their hero was. He expected a rock star or a soccer hero. But they unanimously shouted: Nelson Mandela.

Thus inspired, Rucker returned to Germany and began an eight-month project of laser welding to honor the man who inspired such devotion.

Nelson Mandela: Pure Mind--Rare Vision--Eternal Spirit

A labor of love: countless platinum filaments welded (with a laser under a microscope) with over 1.8 million laser spot welds. Madiba smiles at us and his black diamond eyes, set in black rhodium crinkle characteristically. 

side view of Mandela sculpture

This man evokes gratitude and appreciation in every part of the earth. His strength and grace have changed the lives of his countrymen and foreigners alike.

Madiba, I hope your example is not forgotten. I pray your sacrifice is remembered in future generations, even when the sculpture is dust. May the work of your hands be established in this country and not forgotten. And your gentle herding appreciated:

A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.
--Nelson Mandela

1 comment:

Jarm Del Boccio said...

I am not familiar with SA history, so this was helpful, Karen! Love his quote. . .