A TRIBUTE TO A POLITICAL LEADERSHIP ICON,
WINNIE MADIKIZELA MANDELA
BY ISAIAH-PHILLIPS AKINTOLA
In my growing up to the cognizance of some of the key leadership vanguards, shaping the political and socioeconomic narrative of the state of South Africa, Winnie Mandela style of leadership has been one of those out of the many entities that never stop to catch my attention. To write about women in Frontline, global political leadership, her life will certainly qualify as one. For the single fact that her entire life as a youth, wife, and mother was dedicated to the struggle of her nation’s freedom from the devilish, apartheid, minority leadership junta.
when destiny calls
Here is a woman, like any other young ambitious lady, whose dream and heart’s desire is to be married to a visionary man, who will dedicate his life and career to building a successful, stable, growing family, with the children being able to look up to their parents for love, care, security, provision, and other forms of spiritual, psychological, and emotional sustenance. Yet, the opposite was the case for this great leadership icon, who lived and dedicated almost her entire life to fighting for something she could never or would have never imagined.
The life of Winnie Madikizela is a life of selfless-sacrifice that needs to be understood in context; appreciated, and truly celebrated not just by the nation of South Africa, but in the hearts of every young woman, growing up in this 21st century society, particularly, in the Southern African regions, enjoying at least today, the fruit of a protracted battle of political freedom.
the making of leaders of nations
A nation is made of various unique characters of men and women at the hem of its leadership affairs. Some are strategically born and groomed to take up leadership position at various levels of socioeconomic space. While in some other cases, many are drawn into leadership space by the virtue of their proximity to people of great influence in society.
Yet, there is another group of those in leadership, who have been trained, prepare and groomed within the hard environment of the struggle of marginalization, racism, poverty and inequality they see and feel amongst their own countrymen and woman. This third kind of leaders are usually more authentic and practical in their Leadership calling assignment because the agonizing cry of the need of the people is what fashioned their spirit, soul, and body to embrace the call to a voice and the servant of representation on behalf of the people.
There are many who have come into positions of leadership by dispossession through the barrel of a gun. And they’re those who actually think that authentic leadership is truly acquired just by the voter’s box, at least, we now know this is also not completely true, since those in power are usually known to buy the votes of the already impoverished and marginalized majority.
the call of true leadership
Leadership is a call to respond to the desperate needs of the voiceless and the powerless in society, regardless of their political or religious affiliations. Leadership is birthed by various occasions that calls for our response and solidarity to the critical needs and condition of the mass.
These individuals, who seldom understand, or rather choose not to understand the narrative of some narrow-minded bureaucracy definition of democratic process of negotiations, in their own rights, find their leadership voice and authority within the environment of marginalization and dignity of the impoverished to stand up and fight without flinching
These struggles highlight the underlined character values, and the philosophy that shapes the leadership direction of these men and women. Yet, beyond this, the character values of these icons also impact the history of their people, and determines to a large degree, the future trajectory of the entire nation and regions. Within the struggle for emancipation at all levels, the gray lines of our weakness and strength become even more visible for others to criticize while it gives others the opportunity to assist in covering until that singular mission of liberation and transformation is achieved.
Leadership, particularly, within the scope of national reform, transformation and unity, requires men and women with strong insight, wisdom, and adaptive value system of operation. A character that doesn’t see the challenge and allow itself to collapse within it, but rather see a way out, and willing to follow that pathway until the light at the end of the tunnel becomes glaring for all to see and embrace. Today, Winne Mandela exemplifies these qualities of character amongst those who have greatly shaped and influence the transformative, ongoing program of this great nation.
Was her life a perfect leadership model, certainly not. Did she give her heart to Christ before she died? Well, I don’t honestly know. I believe only those who are very close to her will be able to testify of her personal and spiritual stand with the Lord, and if she did, only the father will be able to ascertain such confession, and it will certainly be great if that is the case.
leadership is beyond what we will ever understand
One thing I do know, and is worth acknowledging, and that is, she served her nation and generation, and that is something noteworthy and appreciating by all prophetically sighted spiritual gatekeepers over this realm.
it’s beyond religion
As new leadership begins to emerge in the refining of the prophetic destiny of this nation, it is our duty as prophetic watchmen, who are positioned on the ramp, to continue to observe and highlight the inflow and outflow of the various shifts in leadership seasons. There is no doubt, a generation of leaders within the context of the struggle and revolution is passing away, and a new order of leadership within the narrative of a new nation is being born.
learning from the past in engaging the future
The great question is, how aware and prepared is the current youthful, western culture, materialistic driven South African Millennials ready in effectively engaging the next political and economic leadership landscape of the nation? These are some important questions we need to start asking even as the concept of leadership narrative changes from all spectrums. There’s a need to learn from the past concept of leadership as the old guard fades way. But most importantly, there is serious need to precisely understand the nature of the future before us, in order to know the necessary models of changes required in making the required move in leadership. As South Africa learns and celebrate the sacrificial service of such woman like Winnie Madikizela Mandela, we need to craft a new, resilient, strategy leadership competent for the future ahead. it’s no more time to waste! We celebrate the life of Ma Minnie Mandela!