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What grew up with Nelson Mandela taught Ndab about life, discipline and upbringing – RN



Posted

March 17, 2018 08:00:00

Ndaba Mandela was 11 years old, playing balls on the streets of Soweta when a black BMW appeared and told him to get inside.

It was the order of his grandfather Nelson Mandela.

But Ndaba didn't know the driver and refused. "Foreign danger," he recalls thinking.

A few days later, the black car returned to the South African ghetto, but this time Ndab's father instructed him to accept the ride.

For Ndab it meant the beginning of a new life.

BMW took the boy to a majestic residence in the north of Johannesburg.

One where large electric gates provided security. Where cooks and cleaners were mixing from room to room. Where the Queen of England would call a chat.

When Ndaba arrived at his new home, Mandela sat him down and explained that his parents would go to college – something they had never had a chance to do before.

It would take a few years to realize that his new guardian – the first democratically elected president of South Africa and his first black president – could teach him powerful lessons about life.

However, it turned out much faster that he moved in with a man who showed him great love, but also a "pretty disciplinary".

"He was a soldier," says Ndaba.

"Whenever he walks past my room, he would scold me and it was wrong."

The joys and pressures to be Mandela

Life in Mandela's House was a lesson in contrast to Ndabo, whose world was until then defined by poverty and apartheid.

In his book on life with Mandelo, Ndaba tells the story of Mama Xoli, Mandela's cook, handed Mandela a phone, says, "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth would like to talk to you."

Mandela picked up the phone, writes Ndaba and said, "Hi, Elizabeth! How are you? Okay, okay. Oh yes, I'm fine, thank you."

Ndaba was amazed to hear his grandfather look at him so informally and for an informal chat.

"He calls me Nelson," Mandela said.

Now a 36-year-old author, spokesman and political adviser, Ndaba says that the resurrection of a late-freedom warrior was challenging and shaping life in the same measures.

There was a lot of pressure to fill Mandel's grandson – a fact that a great man himself explained.

“I remember once [my grandfather] he actually told me when we were having dinner, he said, "Ndaba, you are my grandson; that's why people will look at you as leaders, so you have to get the best grades in the classroom, ”he says.

"And I was glad," Oh, my God, Grandpa. That's a lot of pressure. "

It was not the position Ndaba wanted to be.

"I was a young man growing up in high school. I just wanted to be a normal boy," he says.

"But it wasn't my destiny."

Ndaba remembers his grandfather as a strict discipline and remembers what happened when he lost his school jersey for the second time.

He said Mandel's answer would tell him to "go and sleep outside".

"I said," Hi, OK, "and I walked out. When the sun set, I saw Mom Xoli bring the blanket and I said," Oh my God, I'm going to sleep outside tonight. "Don't believe it," he says.

He recalls desperately trying not to cry for about 20 minutes until his grandfather called him back inside.

"He said," Ndab, if you ever lose another jersey again, be sure to be outside. Now go in, find dinner and go straight to bed, he says.

Ndaba recalls that it was "really cruel", although he admitted it was an effective strategy – he never lost another jersey.

Mandela helped me get another vision of the world.

Ndaba, who now has two of her own children, says she teaches her own parenting experience from her grandfather.

He even admits in his book that he turned to the "sleep outside" line when his son lost some of his school uniform.

But it is the overlapping history of his father and grandfather who most influences his own parenthood.

"You say you want to do better than your father, or his father," he says.

Ndaba says his own father was only four or five when Mandela "decided to devote himself to the movement" and that as a result he "grew up without a father".

"He had to take care of himself in the streets of Johannesburg," Ndaba said.

He believes, for fear of history to repeat, he probably overcompensates as father and may, at times, "go overboard".

"I'm a little tough because I'm traveling all the time because it results," he says.

"[But] In eight years since I was a dad, I was a lot more than my parents were there for my whole life.

"So I shouldn't be so hard on myself and just keep doing what I can and do the best I can."

While he learned a great amount from his grandfather and his parents, much of it, he also said he had "a great example of what to do or [how] to be so rough ”.

"So I think I actually became a better father," he says.

But it makes it clear that Mandela – "my protector" – has helped him achieve a better life, even though it was difficult to grow up with him.

"My grandfather … has helped me regain a different vision of the world and my place," he writes in the monograph Going to the Mountain.

Topics:

family-and-children

History,

world politics

people,

human interest

South Africa


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