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.