At a moment when Cameroon is going through difficult security issues and social unrest, when the English speaking regions are manifesting their grievances of marginalization by the Central Government in Yaounde since November 2016, Mandela’s example of leadership was preached as a model of compromise, negotiation and reconciliation for an all-inclusive society. This message of hope was echoed during an outreach event organized by UNIC Yaounde at the National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, at the Etoug-Ebe neighborhood in Yaounde. This Centre admits persons with different degrees of disabilities, most of them cases of emergency. This event comprised:
- Guided visit to patients of the Centre
- Panel discussion on The Mandela day themes
- Screening the movie; “INVICTUS”
Guided visit to patients of the Centre
To demonstrate Mandela’s love and service to humanity, UN staff and invitees, in 67 minutes paid a guided visit to 67 patients and persons with disabilities admitted in respective wards (Pavillon) of the Centre. During this visit, the patients received words of comfort, hugs and symbolic gifts from the Mandela change-makers. These gifts were composed of detergents, cubes of soap and toothpastes.
Panel discussion on the Mandela day themes
Mrs Grace Formuluh; Director General of the National Centre welcomed participants, lauded the UN for choosing the institution to celebrate Mandela’s legacy, as their daily actions reflect the Mandela philosophy of selfless service to humanity. She narrated the several material challenges of the Centre she heads, and appealed for more support from people of goodwill.
This was immediately followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jean Njita.
Mrs Bih Suzanne Awenti, National Pedagogic Inspector of History and Citizenship Education at the Ministry of Secondary Education (MINESEC), who dwelt on the global theme of “Take action and Inspire change”. She narrated Mandela’s iography, situating his lifestyle as that of a selfless man who sacrificed all forms of comfort for the wellbeing of his fellow South Africans. She traced Mandela’s life from birth through his actions within the African National Congress party (ANC), life in prison, and rise to power as President of South Africa. She emphasized that Mandela’s stewardship as President was that of reconciliation, and the building of an inclusive, free, just, and prosperous rainbow South Africa for all; Afrikaners, Africans, etc. This was manifested through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission put in place by Mandela to heal the wounds of the apartheid era in South Africa, she added.
Dr Victor Manyim, Director of International Leadership University (ILU) centred his presentation on the 2017 theme: “action against poverty”. After a scholarly definition of poverty, he stated that poverty is understood in this context as a situation where “one who lacks income and cannot provide for his/her material needs”. He further added that poverty is increasing because root causes which are cultural and spiritual have so far not been sufficiently addressed. The University don in distinguishing between material and spiritual poverty, stated that spiritual wealth is the act of being rich (dignity) even though being materially poor, while spiritual poverty is the act of being poor (humble), even when one is materially rich. He called on the society to adopt an inclusive attitude, to reflect Mandela’s legacy in our daily life. For “it is only when the materially rich show humility and cater for the needs of the materially but dignified poor that we can bridge the gap and effectively fight poverty in our society “
These exchanges were interspersed by sketches played by secondary school students, in which the achievements of Mandela were re-echoed. (see link: https://youtu.be/Rwm7gqycFmA). There was also a display of some sustainable items produced by students of Mario Secondary School to fight against poverty.
Screening the movie; “INVICTUS”
During the same event, participants watched the movie; “INVICTUS“, which portrays how, Mandela used Sports (Rugby) to show strong leadership, and reconcile South Africans around an ideal of success, and brought about national Unity.