The democratic election of Nelson Mandela in South Africa cannot be placed into words without undermining the significance of this event. To imagine, even a few years ago, that this vicious and tyrannous republic, based upon all the worst aspects of human will and character, committed to the degradation of man and thus the degradation of nature of which man is inevitably part, would find its entire system overturned, so that a black man, the man that this republic has spent its entire history marginalizing, denigrating and ultimately liquidating, would now find himself as the leader, democratically elected, of this same republic, bears the hallmarks of a miracle in an almost profound religious sense.
On the one hand, this is an indicator of the greatness of this one man Nelson Mandela and the inherent glory of the South African people who have remained loyal to him despite the genocidal policies of the apartheid government. Mandela’s story is one of an epic hero, an African mythology – this is mythology in living and breathing form, as the consciousness of a nation is not merely an illusion, a dream or a fable, but a consciousness that acts in the world, that forces changes, that causes disruptions against the enemy. So was the vision of Nelson Mandela. And he never deviated from this vision, not even in his darkest hours. And the South African people never deviated from this vision, not even in their darkest hours.
On the other hand, this is an indicator of the inevitable finitude of corrupt political systems and ideologies. Ideologies that spread hate and discrimination, that attempt to rupture the brotherhood of men, that attempt to undermine the equality of all God’s creatures, that attempt to poison the Earth itself, are condemned to failure. This is not looking at the world through rose-colored glasses or the hymn of an eternal optimist. Mandala’s election has made this a reality.
We are blessed to live in these times when we Africans are living and creating our own mythology. And Mandela is one of the great names of this mythology.