There is no doubt the legacy of Nelson Mandela means a great deal to many people. This simple fact is demonstrated by the multitude of folks drawing from his life and times to list lessons learned.
Just a cursory look at the Google search terms “Mandela lessons from” and you will pull up a full screen of "lessons learned" stories. Here are a few:
“The real lessons we should learn from Mandela” - Fox News
“Nelson Mandela taught the world important lessons” - The Mercury
“The real lessons from the life of Nelson Mandela” - The Dissident Voice
“Goff: Five lessons from Nelson Mandela” - Salt Lake Tribune
“Bill Clinton recalls lessons from Nelson Mandela” - Politico
"Nelson Mandela still has lessons to teach the Tory Party" - The Telegraph
PMA chief executive officer and South African native son Bryan Silbermann also noted that Mandela offered lessons in association leadership, drawing on these three quotes from Mandela.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Silbermann concludes: “No matter which country issues your passport, every PMA member can learn the timeless and universal lessons from Nelson Mandela. Lessons in leadership know no borders...”
Many of the above stories/opinion pieces inform me of a great man, a man who embodied inclusion, humility, courage and a hunger for justice.
But, as often occurs, we go from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Sadly, news reports indicate that family squabbling and South Africa politicians are all trying to wield the “brand” of Nelson Mandela for their own gain.
As many of us learn about Mandela’s story and his fight for equality, we must also grapple with the ultimate reality that Nelson Mandela himself is not here anymore to teach us any lessons at all.