The great political activist and public servant Nelson Mandela has passed away at his South African home. The 95 year-old’s health had been faltering for the past year and he was reportedly hospitalized since early June.
Born Rolihlahla Mandela in 1918, he was given the name Nelson by his teacher on the first day of school. During those times, African primary schools were influenced by British colonials who tried to diminish cultural heritages for a more westernized one.
In 1948, South African political system known as apartheid was in full swing. Similar to the racial injustices that happened during the Jim Crow era in the United States, the country was divided along racial lines; one area known as White South Africa, another as Black South Africa. Unjust laws were enacted and created turmoil between the citizens.
Mandela started to protest and work against apartheid in the late 1950s. Sentenced to prison in the 60s, he served 27 years. His then wife Winnie Mandela is partially responsible for why he is such a household name, because during his imprisonment, she campaigned internationally for his release.
After being released in 1990 by F.W. De Klerk, the apartheid system was finally dismantled. By 1993, Mandela had been honored for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts against apartheid and in 1994, he became the first free elected President of South Africa – serving 5 years.
The former South African president’s work for freedom, justice and unity throughout Africa and the world will never be forgotten and his legacy will live on.
Rest in peace to Nelson Mandela
For more information and a detailed timeline on Nelson Mandela’s amazing life, visit NELSONMANDELA.ORG.