He gave us many signs that he was leaving. But we fell on our knees to beg him not to leave instead of falling on our knees to learn and imbibe his ethics. He told us in no uncertain terms that the work of the labourer is finished that he has to leave. We said we understood but that he has to stay. He trudged on and said “I will pass the baton to you.” Because our ethics failed us, we knew but we continued to plead. In clear terms, he said, the worker has completed his task on earth and the infinite is calling. Because we never learnt from him, we knew but we continued our plea.
We pleaded that he should stay for we knew that after this, nothing else again can be miraculous in the moral voice of Mr. Soyinka as he, Soyinka gave public face and moral force to the private street and neighborhood mournful intuitions and voices on the transition of the soul of Africa, the soul of the world. But again Madiba said the spirit is ready but the body is weak, he is being called. He has to leave. It is becoming urgent.
We knew he was passing into the ages as Mr. Barack Obama, the American President, gave public face to our intuitions for Madiba will no longer partake in the eating of matter but in the ethical ideal. Yes, gone into the ages, gone to meet and join the pantheons of ideal beings whose moral teachings live on. So we become nervous, frightful, unsteady, uncertain for we have not done what we morally ought to do in our societies, so we fell on our knees and pleaded that he should tarry a little.
He mused and nudged us gently that the eternal ideal is calling, beckoning that his mortal earthly job is done and that he has to answer the owner of life. When the giver of life calls, we must answer. It is a compulsory immortal tax, an eternal categorical obligation. We knew but because we were not prepared morally we failed to recognize that.
He was called. We know he was called. The called is known through their moral voices. The moral voice that apprehends the feelings of the poor, we know he was called. The moral voice the weak, the vulnerable choose to speak with and for them, we know he was called. The moral voice the workers breadth their pains and voices into, we know he was called. The moral voice whose big shoulders the voiceless lean on, we know he was called. The moral voice in which the disadvantaged see an advantage, we know he was called. The called is known. The called is revealed. The called is a sign, a moral signifier.
Now that we know that he was called. Now that we know that he answered the call to come and live with us for a while. Now that we know that he has answered the eternal call to return for his job is finished here what shall we do, what shall you do? What did you tell your children about him who was called here and has been re-called back?
Remember he said, “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” Ask yourself, what you will do in Mandela’s position when inevitable death comes calling? Yes, it is good that you declared three-day mourning period for Mandela in Nigeria. Will it not be a good way to honor Mandela’s memory if the one who declared a three day mourning in Nigeria also declare at least one-day war against corruption, against the un-ethical in our lives-just in memory of him-Mandela who gave his all? Should he who declared three day mourning in Nigeria not also work hard to see the death of corruption and declare a day to mourn corruption and immorality? Have you told Nigeria about the N255m aviation armored car contract? Did you not give multiple figures for the same Elbit Internet security contract in order to loot government treasury? How did you “build” that “church” in Otuoke, in Bayelsa state? And to your predecessor and mentor, how did you “build” that “library” and farms in Otta Abeokuta, Ogun state? With whose money? And did you not declare a three day mourning by Nigeria from a foreign hospital in Germany for Madiba who died in an African hospital in Africa? Answer Mr. presidents, tell the world before you shed crocodile tears on our Mandela’s transition.
Recall that he said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Did you tell your children this, that it is not the number of cars, the number of houses you used stolen government money from fake armored car contract to acquire that matters but the difference you make in peoples’ lives? Answer before you “mourn” Mandela’s death. Did you listen to him?
Do not forget that Madiba said: “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.” Where were you when you heard this? Or did you even hear this for you both want to add years to your presidency while Mandela who you are “mourning” never did? Were you not morally missing in action? Did you gather your children together to let them imbibe Madiba ethics?
Tell your children that Madiba said….“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally
to the human heart than its opposite.” Remember Martin Luther King in Madiba and Madiba in Martin Luther King? That is the power of love, the divinity, unity and spirituality of love. Did you gather your children at dinnertime and reveal this to them? Did you reinforce this in these children? Please do if you have not. Me? Oh yes I did that here in the Diaspora. Trust. Believe. I did in honor and celebration of our Madiba.
Make it known that Madiba said, “…A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.” Did you listen? Did you not say recently that the truth the press write is “gossip’? Answer.
Announce it on the mountain tops that our Madiba said….“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” Did you tell your children this? I told mine.
The African mind privileges the thickness and connectedness of time and space rather than their limited linear atomized sense. It is not about Madiba. It is not about me. It is not about you. But it is about “us/we” as a connected indivisible totality. So, when my family heard that Madiba finally answered the call, mom gathered the children. Memory bristled in space and time like spring flowers with a touch of African morning sun. Like we used to do back home in our African cities, towns and small villages from Ile Ife, to Ondo to Lagos, to Ibadan in Nigeria to Cape Town, to Johannesburg to Soweto in South Africa back to Binghamton New York, mom connecting back to Africa from the Diaspora told the children to hold hands together in a circle of prayer in the circle, cycle and spirit of African collectivity and family-hood, in a circle of prayers, holding hands, kneeling with heads bowed in complete reverential submission to HIS WILL in prayer for him- Madiba Mandela- who was called for Life and who has answered the call of Life.
Adieu Mandela, you now belong to the ages for nothing miraculous again after this. You will no longer partake in material death and the dirt of our material mortality any more, you will now partake in perpetual profound peace and love, in eternity, in the ideal and in the adoration of peace with your fellow ideal ones, the heavenly ones…we will remain connected and united in the divinity of the eternal path of life… The Ethical Ideal in our lives is eternal, it lives on-it is the first and last principle in life. The Ethical Ideal trumps everything. Madiba Mandela, You represent this. There is nothing else meaningful outside the Ethical Ideal. The African mind represents this thus:
“Sun re o, Mandela Ma jọkun ma jẹkolo. Ohun ti wọn ba n jẹ lajule ọrun ni ki o ba wọn jẹ. O darinako. O doju ala. O dọjọ ajinde-For You Shall Be Raised Up On The Last Day. O digba ”. Ẹyin rẹ ti dara.
Adeolu Ademoyo email@example.com is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.