For many years since the battle of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson was the most famous Nelson. His statue may stand tall in the center of London but his stature compared with Our Nelson is small. Our Nelson needs no statues, needs no streets named after him, and needs no international airports that bear his name. Our Nelson will be remembered simply by his name that stands for resolve, courage, caring, kindness, and integrity.
Lord Nelson won one battle, Our Nelson won the world!
For me as a white person born in South Africa in the early 1950s who came to America as a refugee in 1975, Nelson is a heroic symbol that at first in my youth was someone I was told to be terrified of. We were fed propaganda on the radio (SABC) how there was a “swaart gevaar” (a black danger) and that Nelson was the leader of the swaart gevaar. Note South Africa had no TV so we never really saw a picture of the Swaart Gevaar, it was simply the radio giving us subliminal audio messages of our impending domination and doom.
At Wits University where I studied there would be graffiti saying “Free Mandela”. A mocking engineer struck out Mandela and wrote Energy. I simply went through life as dumb late teenager with raging hormones. In 1974 I attended the Wits Business School and met Chief Gatya Buthelezi of the Zulus. That was a guy who really scared the crap out of me.
South Africa under white rule had Bantustans or homelands and these chiefs were puppets of the Apartheid regime.
Nelson would have nothing to do with acquiescing to yoke of Apartheid like Buthelezi and the other “Paramount” Chiefs. Nelson had the resolve and courage to hold out for real freedom for his people and all people.
I left South Africa after joining a chemical company as a young manager having gained my MBA. I made the “mistake” of promoting a black worker into a “white man’s” job. Interestingly that job was as a crane operator to remove sulfur laden solid waste in the desulfurization of synthesis gas at an ammonia plant. Very similar to the hazardous sulfur laden solid waste I have often discussed about Al Gore’s Gangrene Bloom Boxes.
I caused a strike by the unionized white workers when I refused to demote the Black worker out of the job they claimed was reserved for whites. The management of the factory (British and Harry Oppenheimer owned) would not support me or the black worker. I resigned my job and went directly to the US Embassy in Pretoria to get my papers to come to the US. My Dad was a US citizen so that was pretty quick and easy. I had given up on South Africa and simply feared an impending blood bath.
Nelson avoided that blood bath I and so many others feared. Buthelezi and the other “Paramount” Chiefs would not have avoided the conflict if they had the power of the “Presidency”. I also admire F W De Klerk as a man who is blessed with resolve, courage, and integrity. F. W. De Clerk knew that Nelson would do great in his “white man’s” job of President of the Republic of South Africa.
I have no clue what happened to the black worker who I promoted to be a crane operator in the sulfur removal pit. After 38 years I cannot even remember his name. I knew he could do that job well but we never found out just how well he would have done that job. He simply was never given the chance.
Nelson, you proved that it is content of one’s character not the color of one’s skin that matters in doing the job well. Nelson you are my beacon to give me the resolve to continue to tackle the well-connected gangrene crowd that are ripping us off blind in the green energy space. They are the Gotyas of Green Greed. Nelson your example of courage is awesome. Nelson you stand taller than Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square near South Africa House, you stand as Our Nelson way up there in heaven. God Bless You.
A Footnote Nelson did resemble Ali as a young man. Both were boxers and both are examples of courage and both are champions of the world.