Nelson Mandela


Mandela's Personal Sacrifice, His Example and His Unwavering Belief in Justice Changed the World By John Robles

6 December, 2013 15:34  

The world is in mourning over the death of Nelson Mandela, who ourageously fought to the very end. We are all a little less for this passing as with the death of every person we are all diminished as human beings, but we are diminished even more when someone who was a positive force and a unifying figure for millions leaves our presence. Throughout history there have been few positive forces who have fought for peace and justice of the stature of the late Nelson Mandela. Through his own personal sacrifice, his example and his unwavering belief in justice and peace he brought about true change for his people, his country and the world.

President Vladimir Putin, through a telegram to President Jacob Zuma, conveyed his sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Mandela and the Government and people of South Africa, and called the longtime leader “one of the greatest politicians of our time.”

The Russian President also gave high praise to Nelson Mandela for his role in furthering the positive development of relations between Russia and South Africa, which the President said have now reached the level of strategic partnership.

Nelson Mandela not only improved and helped bring together the people of Russia and South Africa but he also was instrumental in uniting and bringing together all of the peoples of the world and in particular the oppressed and those yearning for justice and the chance to live free.

The late Nelson Mandela was born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on the 18th of July, 1918 into the Thembu royal family. He attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand on the law faculty. After graduating he became involved in anti-colonial politics, and joining the African National Congress (ANC). He rose to prominence in the ANC's 1952 Defiance Campaign. As a lawyer he was arrested constantly for “seditious activities” and although he was committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party and sentenced to life in prison in 1962. Mr. Mandela served 27 years in prison and was finally released in 1990 thanks to international calls for his release and growing civil unrest.

After leaving prison Mr. Mandela led his people and was instrumental in bringing about negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and then hold multiracial elections in 1994 in which he won the presidency leading the ANC to victory becoming the first black South African to hold the office of president and the first person elected in a fully representative election.

His government focused on dismantling the racist apartheid system, bring an end to institutionalized racism while fighting poverty and inequality and fostering racial reconciliation. Although he was extremely popular he refused to serve a second term as president after having held the office from 1994 until 1999. He was also the President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997 and the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.

During his term as president Mr. Mandela formed a Government of National Unity and was instrumental in the promulgation of a new constitution and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. After leaving office he became an elder statesman and spent his life doing charitable work through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mr. Mandela was the recipient of over 250 honors and awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize the Soviet Order of Lenin. The International Lenin Peace Prize was the USSR’s equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize and was named in honor of Vladimir Lenin. The award was given largely to non-Soviet citizens who had "strengthened peace among peoples", with other recipients including W. E. B. Du Bois, Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende.

The true greatness and unifying character that was Mr. Mandela will be sorely missed by many people around the world and in passing his death must be mourned, but more importantly, his life must be celebrated.


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