"We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again." said President Obama at the funeral for the recently passed South African leader.
A great many things have been said about Nelson Mandela since his death. Understand that Mandela was an early advocate of Gandhian non violence in his opposition to apartheid in South Africa. When he saw those tactics led to more restrictions, and harsher actions against the black South Africans, he decided to embark on sabotage (rejecting terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and outright revolution). For this he was convicted of treason against South Africa, and sentenced to life in prison. That's the short story. Here's a little more detail.
Many say he was a communist, and that's the end of that. When he became President of South Africa in 1994, he did not seek to make South Africa a communist nation. He was, along with the African National Congress, linked to communist nations like Cuba, and the Soviet Union. Maybe he was, and changed. Maybe since the western democracies, like the United States, and Great Britain, called him a terrorist and did not support the cause to end apartheid, he sought support for his movement wherever he could find it. Revolutions it seems are not free in a practical sense. Communist? I don't know how dedicated he was to the movement.
Some are critical of things done by the African National Congress like "necklacing" (google it) and by the transitive property they reflect on him. Well, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington owned slaves while leading a movement that has in its founding document "...all men are created equal." Additionally, loyalists were not treated nicely in the War for Independence. Bad things happen in struggles for freedom. That's not an excuse, but it is what it is.
So while dignitaries exalt Mandela for his accomplishments at his funeral, and Obama tells us we'll never see another, I can tell you he's wrong, at least I hope he's wrong. As long as people are repressed, and denied freedom in places around the world, people like Nelson Mandela are needed. The next Mandela may be among the demonstrators in Egypt. They could be fighting in the Syrian civil war. The next one may be in a prison in China.
The next Mandela is likely on a no fly list, or on a watch list, or suspected terrorist list. The worlds' intelligence structure has terabytes of data on the next Mandela. Most of Mandela's life was watched by the spy networks of the world. He was labeled a terrorist by the white South African regime that put him in prison for having the audacity to fight for freedom. He was called a terrorist by the Reagan Administration, and the Thatcher government in England (to name only two). That's what revolutionary leaders are before the movement they lead becomes successful. They're the bad guy.
In the end they're the revered hero. A lifetime of courageous dedication to a single cause - freedom. That's what it takes. Courage to be a bad guy, and the outlaw. Because you see, what may be seem the obvious moral cause is seldom seen that way by those whose advantage is protected by the injustice. So hope for the next Nelson Mandela. The world needs them.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. - Frederick Douglass