Mandela is on his deathbed.
The father of democracy. The bringer of freedom. A freedom fighter. An icon. A legend. A leader. An advocate for peace. A role model.
What will we do without him?
How will we go on?
Will the world descend into anarchy and racism once again?
How will we survive without his guidance?
Will democracy survive his passing?
Will we still be capable of kindness and compassion?
Will we be lost, as if in the dark, without his guidance?
Will his passing bring out the worst in us?
Will his passing trigger some cataclysmic event?
We have designed ourselves to depend on others for our actions and nature. We have placed upon Mandela all that we see as good in human nature, but what happens to our idol when he passes? What happens to all the ideals and goodness we instilled within his image? Does hope that humanity can be good die with him? Will we take responsibility for ourselves and our actions at last, or will we use his death as another excuse for the worsening state of affairs in the world. Will we blame Mandela for a return of racism? Or will we honour his memory and never participate in judgement again?
Will his death scare investors and cause a worsening of economic conditions, especially in South Africa? Will his absence lessen the value of the economy? Will his absence destabilise the region?
Mandela is a living symbol of acceptance, of a world free from discrimination. How will his death affect the world? Having a symbol is all well and good, but maybe it is time to actually live and practice that which the symbol represents. People are funny, when asked why we do not act in accordance with the ideologies we claim to respect, such as those represented by Mandela, we will say things like "not everyone can be like Mandela" - using him and his symbolism as an excuse for not being better. It's not even a good excuse, it doesn't actually make any sense. What does it matter how another person lives - how does that validate my actions? We cannot blame others for our choices - we must be responsible. We must be held accountable.