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Mandela: Robala ka kagiso

Nelson Mandela is no more. A giant has fallen. Africa's greatest son has succumbed to mortality at his final hour. The father of the nation and a virtuous revolutionary, as well as a man against whom humanity continues to measure itself against, has concluded his long walk. We are grateful to have walked the last distance of his journey with him.

The passing of Nelson Mandela imposes on all of us the burden of responsibility not to betray the ideals that he stood for, the injustices he sacrificed his life fighting against, all in the pursuit of freedom and equality of his people. The arduous task of this nation that is overwhelmed by grief and sorrow is not to dwell on the passing of the man, a remarkable man, not to drown ourselves in our own tears and not to lose hope on what the future holds for us. Because it is not who he was, nor was it what he was about. Ours is to honour this man though commitment to transforming our nation into what he sacrificed his life for, what he was prepared to die for. We must keep walking.

Madiba has not left us. He will continue to live in our memory for eternity. His legacy lives on.

"Let us honour this soldier for peace in a fitting manner. Let us rededicate ourselves to bringing about the democracy he fought for all his life; democracy that will bring real, tangible changes in the lives of the working people, the poor, the jobless, the landless."

These are the words of Nelson Mandela on 10 April 1993 after the callous murder of Chris Hani. What he asked of us 20 years ago continues to have relevance today. The work has not been completed. There is a duty upon all of us to continue the struggle for the economic emancipation of our people. Unity and reconciliation which Madiba championed throughout the years of political freedom cannot be achieved when the people are poor, jobless and landless. In his own words, "It is no use talking about democracy and stability when people cannot put food in their stomach." We have a mission to fulfil.

Ours is to continue on the rightful path of freeing our people from the degrading conditions of poverty, to instil in society amiable virtues which should define our existence as humanity. To honour Mandela is to honour the best in all of us, to reignite the flame of hope among our people as we stride towards what should be a bright, prosperous and just future.

Let us celebrate this longevity of life that was lived with purpose, courage and honour. We owe this to ourselves.

Robala ka kagiso sebata!

Follow Sentletse Diakanyo on Twitter: @Sentletse