Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela (July.18, 1918-Dec. 5, 2013)

(Credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace prize winner, has died at the age of 95.  Mandela had been in failing health recently and was taken to a hospital on June 8 for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.

He is being remembered as one of the world’s most revered statesmen who led the struggle to replace the racist apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy.  Jailed for 27 years, he emerged in 1990 to become the country’s first black president four years later and to play a leading role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict.

Beginning a trip to Africa, President Obama said he was inspired as a law school student in the early 1990s to see Mandela step forward after decades of imprisonment to help deliver democracy in a spirit of reconciliation with his former captors.  ”It gave me a sense of what is possible in the world when righteous people, when people of good will, work together on behalf of a larger cause,” said Obama, who described Mandela as a personal hero.

Nelson Mandela is also one of my personal heroes. It was because of him that I realized that the struggle of people of color is global instead of national. At a time when I didn't even know what apartheid was Nelson Mandelas personal struggle showed me the true meaning of courage and tenacity. He will surely be missed. But his legacy will live forever.


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