The comment from the unfamiliar person following my Facebook posting on the demise of Nelson Mandela read: “Sorry, don’t know him. Was he as famous as Paul Walker?”
As I am not permitted to rephrase my retort to this individual’s comments here without breaking more than 15 rules on the use of profanity in our publication, rest assured that I will clearly not be getting any Christmas gift from this ignorant person.
Yet, can you blame his witlessness entirely? After all, the former South African president’s passing only chalked up 95,000 tweets per minute as compared to Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Awards performance that reached over 306,000 tweets per minute.
Evidently, today’s society clearly places more importance on evocative groping and gyrating hips than on the history-making endeavours of an iconic political figure. With all due respect to Walker’s acting skills and Cyrus’ twerking abilities, here was a man that was cited in school history books, has a memoir that has sold more than 15 million copies and counting, as well as revered by other great leaders of past and present.
While the 95-year-old may not have sold many popcorns or concert tickets throughout his journey in bringing democracy and social integration to South Africa, he undoubtedly brought about immense economic revival and increased foreign investments to his country. Mandela’s teachings extended well beyond politics and economics.
Replying to my hastily scribed query to several entrepreneurs within my social media network pertaining to Mandela’s influence on their management philosophy, café owner Kenneth said: “I saw him as an inspiration on how to have compassion for everyone around my business; employees, customers and even suppliers.”
Shirley, who runs a design agency, replied: “A true legend, he showed me that we must think big in everything we do and that we should not settle for anything less.” Award-winning HR consultant Ramesh concurred that the illustrious statesman taught him about having perseverance and in “staying the course” no matter how difficult the challenges were.
As Mandela once said: “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated,” I do hope that more social media users would show greater interest in the contributions of our civilisation’s celebrated leaders, who certainly offer more educational values than merely on how to drive fast cars or how to whirl our buttocks.