Respected dignitaries on stage/off stage and my dear friends,
Good Morning to you all..
Apartheid. The word reminds us about the horrors and wars of categorization and differentiation. The old posters labelled “THE WHITE AREA” and “ONLY FOR USE BY WHITE PEOPLE” come flashing back into our mind. Just imagine what we would feel if our country people kick us out just for setting foot on our own nation’s soil? The despair and disappointment is just enough to fill your plate, but you cannot help thinking about the sad future looming ahead. That was how the thousands and millions of blacks in South Africa felt when they were tortured in the mid 1990’s.
Recently I got a chance to read an extract of the book Long Walk to Freedom, autobiography of Nelson Mandela, the savior and hero of those millions being categorized and suffering. He was born on 18th July 1918. During his childhood he was free as a bird. Free to run in the fields, free to swim in the nearby river and free to do all the things a child could ever desire to do. But as he started growing into a young man, he noticed all the problems that people of his colour faced. Therefore he pursued law and started working as an attorney in Johannesburg. Then he joined the ANC (African National Congress) and from that day onwards he started fighting for his people. He was repeatedly arrested and unsuccessfully prosecuted many times for founding associations which helped the black, but still he fought tirelessly, day after day, with willpower determination and love for his people. Mandela had spent 30 years in prison but there only he realized that every human has a fire of good inside him and that it can only be masked and not extinguished.
He understood the flaw in human nature and used that trick to stop the brutal and torturing system of apartheid. Altogether, Mandela spent 67 years of his life fighting, while also sacrificing his age of youth and middle age which could have produced moments of immense happiness instead of toil and struggle. After a lifetime fight against apartheid, on 10th May 1994 Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. The first democratic elections ever happened in the history of South Africa selected their true leader.
In honor of this great personality, UN declared July 18, Mandela’s birthday as Nelson Mandela Day to remember his endless fight for the poor and underprivileged. Mandela gave 67 years of his life for the fight and gained victory. Why can’t we give at least 67 minutes on Nelson Mandela Day for putting a stop to poverty or differentiating people on the basis of caste and creed in our neighborhood? In this COVID-19 situation, we too can help people in many ways. For e.g. we can create “care kits” for poor or children in orphanages by suppling kits with combs, toothbrushes, towels and items that can be used to keep personal hygiene. If we can, we can organize online meetings with people from old age homes and make them happier by spending some time sharing stories and messages with them as a means of some community service. As students let us also join our hands for serving our community.
Dear friends, LIFE in a discriminated society is very hard. Even though we may be happy with all the privileges and rights we have, there are many who are not even allowed to sit down in the shade of a tree or go to the market to buy groceries as it belongs to upper class or high class. Also discriminations still exist in different forms and different ways in all countries and all societies. Let’s stand against this thought. As children we can prove to the world that we can live without being divided into groups and can live together black or white, high or low.
“Life is sour with one alone, But it turns sweet with many more.”