Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)


Just few days after receiving news of the death of Paul Walker, one of the main actors in the highly popular Fast and Furious film franchise, today we woke up to another tragic news. Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, died on 5th December at his Johannesburg home after a prolonged lung infection. He was 95. He was one of the most influential political figures in our generation and his contribution to democracy and social freedom stretched beyond possibilities. 

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(Image source: http://www.blackouthiphop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1459661_10152069427379841_746948027_n-540×317.jpg)

He was that famous not only just because he was the former president of South Africa, but also for being the pivotal figure on bringing justice, hope and reconciliation to his country. The anti-apartheid icon had since became an inspiration to the worldwide. Let us look back to a little of his background that made him a respectable global icon. Mandela, the country’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon, emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide South Africa through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy. 

Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government – a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most loved figures. He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country’s white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later. He was then elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honour he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner. As president, Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office.

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(Image source: http://www.leparisien.fr/images/2013/12/05/3380569_c4382497ccdb7f99ce80a4c78fe9cc2008ab756a_545x341.jpg)

In 1999, Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy – a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders. In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis and the struggle became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005. Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighbourhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.

Upon hearing news of his death, many of worldwide political leaders expressed their grief and condolences for the loss of an honourable man. Out of various notable quotes from Nelson Mandela, I find this to be the most touching; 

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – from his 1994 autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”

Earlier, I didn’t know much about him, but I do know a little of how great this man had work for his country and inspire others. And when I researched more about him today, I truly admired him for his strong values in passion, humility, humanity, and his tireless struggle to freedom. He was a legend and needs no further explanation. I had even took a photograph with him (I mean his wax figure in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum) early this year. 

Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

(Information sources: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/12/06/Nelson-Mandela-Dead.aspxhttp://www.thestar.com.my/News/World/2013/12/06/Factbox–Nelson-Mandela-in-his-own-words.aspx)

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One Response to “Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)”

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    Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) | My Blog City by Vincent Loy

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