“I have always cherished the ideal of a free and democratic society in which people can live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live and, if necessary, is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. The Man said in 1961. In court they tried for high treason. His plea was so sincere that it took him to prison for 27 years.
The convictions of Nelson Mandela (Born on July 18, 1918) has made him a living political legend. Others, like Che Guevara, Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King, were admired for her ideals but in the end, but their murders contributed to the myth, in the end leaving the question of whether they would have succumbed to power, or lived lives as great men. In the case of Mandela there is no room for a doubt.
‘Madiba’ – ‘venerable grandfather’, as he is known in South Africa, has been fighting all his life. Family of paramount chiefs of the tribe of the Tembu, he was raised to become leader of his clan. But he rebelled against his fate, he studied law and entered politics to fight xenophobic practices of apartheid. He was born black in a country dominated by whites who practiced racial exclusion. And he was not willing to accept it.
In 1948, the South African National Party (NP) had won an election in which only whites could vote and installed a system of racial segregation. Opposite to that was the African National Congress (ANC), formed in 1912 to fight for the rights of black people and Mandela joined in 1942. He travelled the country promoting civil disobedience, among which included numerous violent actions to try encourage change which continued until he was arrested and charged with high treason. The Pretoria regime considered Mandela a terrorist. This was not felt by the international community, who orchestrated a campaign for his support that was successful in the release of Mandela on February 11, 1990.
He had spent nearly three decades in prison.
During his first address to the press, he opted for a political goal for South Africa by saying:
“Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. Our march to freedom is irreversible.”
“Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax now would be a mistake which future generations would not forgive,” he continued.
True to his ideals of reconciliation. He took the reins of the country’s transition process after passing through the first democratic elections to which all his countrymen were able to vote. This was April 1994.
Once in power, Mandela remained consistent. He did not cling to the power. He retired when the time came and continued to fight for nobel reasons, such as the eradication of AIDS or poverty in Africa. In addition, with his experience, he become a mediator with the conflicts in Angola, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo and has received numerous honours throughout the world including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.
Mandela is still revered today by thousands of people today. Evidenced by the standing ovations he received all over the world in his many appearances, including the recent world tour ’46664 ‘, which was his prison number –was a Charity concert to raise funds for the awareness and the prevention of AIDS in Africa. A true crusader for his people.
In The words of Bono (Front man for The Group U2). “He is not only a president of South Africa, not only for Africa, he is a president for those who love freedom, ‘Madiba’.”