On Monday 18 July, South Africa celebrates former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday, which has been declared Nelson Mandela International Day.
On this day, acts of charity are carried out to pay homage to Mandela’s legacy.
Madiba would have turned 104 years old.
His journey to being a world-renowned statesman is filled with lessons and mentorship from his upbringing.
These include lessons learnt at eQunu Primary School from his school teacher who gave him his “Christian” name Nelson, to the mentoring he received at eMqhekezweni Great Place from his uncle regent King Jongintaba Dalindyebo and cousin, son of then regent king, Chief Justice Mtirara.
Qunu-based tour guide, Zimisele Gamakhulu, says Madiba’s path to greatness was influenced by a number of people in rural Eastern Cape.
“At the age of nine, his father passed away. His mother took him to eMqhekezweni, to his uncle Jongintaba. He spent all his formative years eMqhekezweni…that is when he writes in his book that he learnt about African democracy, where the leader leads from behind,” explains Gamakhulu.
Mandela’s leadership lessons from eMqhekezweni:
Mqhekezweni is the same place where Madiba underwent the traditional rite of passage from boyhood to manhood (uLwaluko).
Gamakhulu also tells a story of a big tree at King Jongintaba’s palace, where local councils would be held and where Madiba would sit behind the kraal not too far from that big tree to listen to how the elders went about solving local issues.
A map of eMqhekezweni is below: