A great example for all of us
If there is one lesson we as Trinbagonians can learn from the life and legacy of the great “Madiba’’ it is the dignity of the person, or self-respect. It’s his subduing of the self for the rightness of his cause which was to free his people from the evil of apartheid, and for that he never for once thought of acting in his own personal interest and saving himself, despite the pain and degradation of 27 years of incarceration at the hands of the oppressor.
Such faith in his cause was his light in the darkness, his reason for life amidst the living death which threatened to engulf him, and for which the world now sings his praises.
We can’t all be Madibas. But we can demonstrate our own personal dignity and self-respect in whatever enclaves we find ourselves, small or big, taking this page from his book, like looking after our family, especially the innocents, no matter how poor or deprived we are, or giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, especially in our social programmes, even though our boss may not, and he is not looking, or charging a just price for our sorrel and ginger that would bring a smile to a poor man’s face, rather than fill our pockets with his last penny, or have a Christmas party for the innocent and disabled because we really care and not for the cameras.
On another level, we can accept our true worth and competence for what they are and try to do better rather than dissemble and be dishonest, as in the degrees we claim or abuse, or the jobs we accept for which, in all conscience, we do not qualify, or at yet another level, that as leaders we truly serve the people rather than under the guise of doing, so ensnare them into their own subordination because of their simple-mindedness, so much so that the people would say, as they are saying of Madiba today, that this was truly a man or woman.
Your self-respect is your soul, and should you sacrifice that for your own self-interest, no matter what your riches, you are very poor indeed!
Are you of such character to follow Madiba’s example?
Dr Errol Benjamin