Mandela inspired South Africa, Africa and the world with his vision of a democratic society free of racism and prejudice, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says in its weekly dispatch.
“He encouraged tolerance and forgiveness and helped us to imagine a future where the most vulnerable and marginalised people would be free from fear and want,” Dr Salim Ahmed Salim and Dr Jakkie Cilliers write.
Salim is ISS advisory council president, while Cilliers is the executive director of this Pretoria-based organisation.
The ISS says it shares Mandela’s vision of human security in which every person had equal and meaningful rights and no one is above the law.
“The promise of a just society in which human rights are safeguarded has inspired the ISS over the past 20 years since Madiba’s release from prison in 1990.”
Mandela transcended South Africa and Africa, and was eventually a moral compass for the world – an international figure whose legacy will continue to provide inspiration for generations to come, Salim and Cilliers say.
The ISS says Madiba will (also) be remembered as an ardent protagonist of pan-Africanism who went out of his way to help solve some of Africa’s most devastating conflicts,
Mandela, who toured conflict-hit Africa to preach peace, tolerance and democracy to his power-obsessed colleagues, had also acted as a trusted mediator in certain conflicts tearing strategic African countries.
In 1997, he sat between former Zaire dictator Joseph-Desiré Mobutu and his political foe Laurent-Desiré Kabila, and urged them to dialogue for the sake of peace and democracy.
Mobutu was consequently overthrown by Kabila – with the help of Rwanda, Uganda and the US – after he refused Mandela’s offer to leave power peacefully. And Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 in his residence by a mysterious gunman, in an extraordinary plot reliable sources said was spearheaded by Washington and executed by its die-hard ally Rwanda.
While the ISS hails Madiba’s contribution to human security, good governance and the rule of law, many observers regret that no African leader has been able to emulate these values, and that the continent will miss him until the end of times.
We shall honour his memory by striving to ensure that his vision is realised, both in South Africa and across our continent, the Pretoria-based organisation says.