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  We are here: News- Bee Buzz | African Honeybee industry pays homage to Nelson Mandela

The Honeybee industry in Africa joins the rest of the world to pay homage to our beloved global father, mentor and leader; Taata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who is now rested from his necessary and profitable labor.

For us in the bee world, we recognize his selfless sacrifices for the good of humanity and liken them to those of honeybees which un-tirelessly pollinate our crops and play a big role in feeding the several billions of people populating the entire earth.

Tata Nelson was a defender of the bees' rights. One day, police wanted to remove bees from his rural home in Qunu, Eastern Cape. However, he told them that the honeybees are perfectly entitled to select their own home.

He is also known to express his reservation on the way bees are removed from their hives. He said that removing them with smoke - was "a bit crude."

Like many of us in the bee world, Mandela never escaped a bee sting. It was reported during his only term in office, at the age of 79 years, that he was stung by bees which found him right in the comfort of his house. Surprisingly, "There is a belief in Xhosa tradition that bees are connected to ancestors, and if they show unkindness toward you it's a message from the ancestors," a dimension Mandela admitted to be ignorant about at the time of attack. Another bee sting dimension today in science is that though bee sting is an unpleasant experience that undoubtedly everyone would choose to avoid if given the choice, there is a growing number of people who are choosing to be stung by bees. This is an alternative form of illness treatment, called apitherapy, to counter ailments like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and lupus by the bee venom which the bee injects.

In his autobiography; The Long Walk to freedom, Madiba learnt many things from the wild from the age of five which included gathering of wild honey. "It was in the fields that I learned how to knock birds out of the sky with a slingshot, to gather wild honey and fruits and edible roots, to drink warm, sweet milk straight from the udder of a cow, to swim in the clear, cold streams, and to catch fish with twine and sharpened bits of wire," Said Mandela.

One of his remarkable quotable quote is, "What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." Indeed like the entire world can testify, he has left a mark. He has finished his race and we'll always draw inspirations from the life he has lead. His legacy lives on in all of us - it is in our hands now.

References: Long Walk to Freedom -an autobiographical work written by South African President Nelson Mandela; Nelson Mandela and the bees;, Bee stings as therapy? Apitherapy can treat arthritis and more;

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