Yesterday, December 5th, an amazing light was extinguished from the world. Nelson Mandela passed at the age of 95.
Mandela devoted his life to fighting the apartheid in South Africa. He was imprisoned for nearly thirty years for his fight against white minority rule. When he was released, he said, ”As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” He went on to become the first black President of South Africa from 1994-1999. His government tackled racism, poverty, and inequality, and strove for racial reconciliation. His activism earned him over 250 honors, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. After his presidency concluded, Nelson focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through his Nelson Mandela Foundation.
After the announcement of his passing, President Barack Obama stated, ”He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today he’s gone home, and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.”
Current President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, said of Nelson’s passing, “He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.”
Rest in peace, Madiba. And thank you.
Photo credit: Mandela Day Facebook Page