A friend of mine from West Africa once told me something very profound: “In our family, we come from a lineage of kings that once ruled throughout our region. As young members of this ancient royal family, we underwent secret training on how to act and behave as a royal. Although the kingship was ended by colonial governments, we still undergo the training even today.”
“Can you share with me some of the secrets of this training?” I asked him, out of curiosity.
“It’s really a mindset thing. A royal must maintain dignity and poise at all times, particularly when provoked. A royal mindset does not allow you to deride or belittle someone simply because you disagree with them. The use of insults in an argument is very undignified.”
“Anything else?” I asked as I took down some notes.
“As a public figure, some weak-minded people will always try and goad you into a response that causes you to lose your cool and get into a brawl with them, rather like little boys fighting in a school yard.”
“Don’t fall for it,” he said.
“Who is this ‘weak-minded’ person?” I asked.
“Someone who has no capacity to disagree without being disagreeable in their manner of approach.”
“A king or queen must weigh carefully every word they say, as though it is made of gold. That is how they get their respect. No shouting and no impulsive response in anger.”
Then he added this observation: “If you meet any member of my tribe, even young people, they all behave in the same way, because they learnt it from the royals. We are known for our dignity and poise.”
After reflecting on some of the things he had said, I finally said to him: “You know, I have the same training, too.”
“Are you also from a royal African family?” he asked.
“No, not at all. It’s just that I study the Bible every morning, and it compels me, to speak, think and act that way.”
It was his turn to ask questions…
Now speaking of royal African families, I chose this picture today because, as some of you may know, there’s a historic music concert called “The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100″ which will take place in Soweto, South Africa this Sunday 2 December to commemorate 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth.
Sunday’s event (amongst others over recent years) has been put together by an international group called Globalcitizen.org, sponsored by a large cross-section of large private sector companies and NGOs, together with a few foundations, both local and international.
If you’re interested, you can find out more athttps://
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the concert, but let’s talk..
Global citizenship: What does this mean to you?