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Nelson Mandela: A Product of “Christian Madrasah”

12 Dec 2013
Nelson Mandela: A Product of “Christian Madrasah”
By SYED JAWED ANWAR

Rolihlahla Mandela died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95. He was the leader of global repute, and everyone on this planet who has some interest in news and current affairs knows Mr. Mandela well.

Mr. Mandela was born in the land that was under the act “The Natives Land Act of 1913” that separated South Africa into areas in which either blacks or whites could own land. Blacks, constituting two-thirds of the population, were restricted to 7.5% of the land. Whites, making up one-fifth of the population, were given 92.5%. South Africa was an apartheid state governed by the white elites. It took Mandela a lifetime of struggle, including 27 years of imprisonment, to undo legislation that denied Africans basic freedoms enjoyed by the descendants of white European colonists.

Some of his famous quotes are, “I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” "If you have an objective in life, then you want to concentrate on that and not engage in infighting with your enemies. You have to create an atmosphere where you can move everybody toward the goal you have set for yourself."

On his death, the leaders from all over the world, commentators, writers, journalists, editorial writers and columnists are condoling and describing him as an icon of freedom and justice.

“He was a brave man, a great politician of our time who had great patience, perseverance, endurance, and moral fortitude. He had a charismatic, preternaturally graceful and dignified personality.  He is the father of change in South Africa in twentieth century, a symbol of resistance to apartheid. He had a great heart that always forgives his enemies.  He was the man of global imagination with wisdom, courage, sacrifices, humility, and a person who determined struggle to seek justice for his people, and finally changed the face of Africa. Nelson Mandela, a man of empathy loved for humanity. He was a man who spoke truth, a man of courage; above all else he well understood the meaning of perseverance. “

Going through all the commentaries, reactions and feelings about Mr. Nelson Mandela, it came to my mind that the quality that Mandela possesses can’t be cultivated from the Western public education system. After studying the western education philosophy, system, and its implication in the public education, I came to the conclusion that this system can’t produce and infuse the quality that Mandela enjoys.

The purpose of Western secular/liberal education system is to instill the bad habit, the wrong character, and develop a perverted personality. This system produces politicians, scientists and engineers, who developed weapons of mass destruction, who bombed the cities, destroyed the countries and nations, and kill the generations. This system produces the politicians who have deep moral issues that corrupting our educational, social, economic and cultural life.

Then I started gathering information of the early life of Nelson Mandela and that solved my question. Nelson Mandela was the product of a religious school, a Christian Madrasah.

Mr. Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa's Cape Province.  His father Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa had four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different villages.

Nelson's mother was Gadla's third wife, Nosekeni Fanny. Mandela’s early life was dominated by religion, custom and rituals. Mandela grew up with two sisters in the village of Qunu where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with other boys.Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was about seven.

Later his mother took Mandela to the "Great Place" palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted under the guardianship of Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their son Justice and daughter Nomafu.As Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians, Christianity became a significant part of his life.He attended a <b>Methodist mission school</b> located next to the palace. In the religious environment, he was studying English, Xhosa, history and geography.He developed a love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace.

Mandela began work on a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare, an elite black institution in Alice, Eastern Cape, then the only institution offering tertiary education to black South Africans, where he read law with around 150 students. But his rebellious streak showed through and he was expelled for leading a student strike against the university authorities

His early character based education, society, good village culture, and religious environment have played significant role in shaping the personality of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

(Syed Jawed Anwar can be reached at Jawed@SeerahWest.com)

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