To most of us, Nelson Mandela was just some guy that we wrote about for a report in the 5th grade. But to the rest of the world – and history – Mandela was a living monument of world peace. The legendary political leader passed away this past Thursday as result of complications stemming from a severe, chronic lung infection.
An activist for the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela organized several ‘Defiance Campaigns’ and strikes against the Apartheid System in South Africa. Fearing a revolution, the government threw him in prison in 1962, where he served 27 years of his life sentence until being released on February 11, 1990. Upon release, Mandela went on to become South Africa’s first black president in 1994. Immensely popular with both the national and international public, Mandela once famously stated: “I raised my fist and there was a roar”.
In the wake of Mandela’s death, both ordinary civilians and world leaders have expressed their sadness at his passing. The current South African President, Jacob Zuma, spoke to his nation, asking them to “recall the values for which Madiba fought”, referencing Mandela’s popular nickname. An avid reader of Mandela’s writings, President Obama, also added to the world sentiment: “He [Mandela] achieved more than could be expected of any man. He belongs to the ages”.
As world leaders and denizens of the world alike honor Mandela’s legacy, observe a moment of silence for one of the “most influential, courageous, and profoundly good” people to have ever walked the face of the Earth.
Nelson Mandela, we will miss you. Rest in peace.