Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18th July 1918 – 5th December 2013)
This week when the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing was announced, the whole world mourned. Since the 1940s till the present day, he championed for racial equality and human rights. Everyone knows the struggles Mandela went through to achieve equality in South Africa. His life is testament to the triumph of the human spirit to overcome all odds and lead change. Mandela, you will be missed.
Taking inspiration from his life
Mandela went to prison for 27 years for rallying against apartheid, which discriminated against the blacks and favored a white minority rule in South Africa. It was not just freedom they fought for. They were fighting for equality in their own country against their fellow citizens. The color of people’s skin should not seal their fate and Mandela wanted greater opportunities for all Africans. After being oppressed for centuries and sold off as slaves, things needed to change. Mandela led this change.
Every South African is mourning for Mandela today. His life was a tale of inspiration and it fueled the imagination of leaders who led protests against apartheid in all parts of South Africa. The punishments for protesting against the white-only government were severe but Mandela suffered through them and came out victorious. He once said that football gave him and his fellow prison inmates hope. The game made them feel alive and triumphant despite their own conditions. Mandela suffered through the harsh struggles of prison life, the inability to meet his family and friends for long periods of time, and the abuse of black people but did not lose hope. And this is what made him great.
A long walk to freedom
Mandela’s struggle for equality began in the late 1940s, and it came to fulfillment when apartheid was officially abolished in 1990. He was released from his 27-year long prison term in the same year and worked towards reconciliation between the whites and the blacks using peace as a tool.
The compelling story of his life is an inspiration. Though he was not a great public speaker, he still led a whole nation through years of struggle and helped rebuild South Africa as a land of equal opportunity. He was arrested, detained, abused, denied basic human rights, and criticized all throughout his fight. But he found hope in the darkest of places and inspired others to do the same. He showed the true nature of a leader. With his passing, South Africa and the rest of the world have lost a great man, but his true greatness will survive through us. We can all be Mandelas of our little causes, of our hopes and dreams. And like Mandela, we will strive through any hardships to see our dreams fulfilled.
Three cheers to Mandela and the hope he gave us!