Nelson Mandela, has been always a fighter, is a man who fought against the odds. His darkest days in jail didn´t spoil his spirit and he was reborn from the ashes.
Nelson Mandela stood up as a leader and spoke with his heart; he understood the flaws of a broken nation. And he unified a racially polarized nation.
His life was full of painful episodes,for instance, from jail he looked for South Africa’s freedom and real democracy. Outside of prison he had many supporters and people who trust his ideals, beliefs and convictions.
Nelson Mandela was born in the village Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa´s Cape Province, his father was Gadla Henry Mphakanyswa a local chief who was a polygamist, and had four wives. Mandela´s parents were illiterate, but Christian and at the age of seven he was sent to a Methodist school. When he turned nine his father died and from then on he was under the guardianship of the Chief Jongintaba, of his wife, daughter and son. He always felt part of the family, he had a strong masculine figure in the chief; about that time he learned concepts such as justice, fairness and History of his beloved Africa.
Jongintaba helped him to enroll in the University Fort Hare, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, there he studied English, anthropology, politics, native administration and Roman Dutch law.
His years of a rebel started when he went to Law school and faced racism, that made him to become friends with communist, Jewish, liberals and Indians. In university for the first time saw and understood the world better.
In World War II, a movement of racial segregation took place in South Africa from 1948 to 1994, a black minority (Afrikaners) and white population ruled over a black majority.
Nelson Mandela’s encounters with brutality and unfairness moved him to dream of a free nation, furthermore he needed to be influential in South Africa in order to bring fair elections.
In 1960, the U.S. considered all members of the African National Congress terrorists. Even Margaret Thatcher called him a communist and terrorist more than once.
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in 1962 charged for instigating strikes among workers. He was imprisoned as a terrorist, convicted for treason and sabotage, he was sentenced for life.
Nelson Mandela tried to escape the country. In prison atRobben Island Nelson Mandela stayed for 18 years, where he was isolated from non-political prisoners.
In 1982 Nelson Mandela was transferred to Cape Town’s prison Pollsmoor, where he was allowed to write 52 letters a year, inside he was working close with the United Democratic Front. In jail he went through brutality, underfeeding and mistreatment.
Nelson Mandela was freed from his last prison Victor Verster in 1990. Outside he met with activists and the press. His main focus was to give the black majority the right to vote. When he was freed from prison, he restarted negotiations with F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and begin the multi-racial elections in 1994. Leading the ANC (African National Congress), he won and became the first black president of South Africa.
During his presidency Nelson Mandela encouraged unique measures and new reforms. He fought against human rights´ violations. He rebuilt a divided nation through dialogue.
After his government ended he was asked to rule one more time, but he declined the offer because he knew the dangers of power. Mandela´s number of prisoner was 46664, which became symbol for AIDS campaign.
When Nelson Mandela finished his work as president, he focused in helping people. He made a crusade to combat poverty and AIDS through Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Nelson Mandela, is a controversial figure of the XX century, his ideals opened a bridge of coöperation and dialogue. He understood Africans like nobody; he knew human nature. He is acclaimed and respected as “Father of the Nation”
The tangible prizes that he won were the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, the Lenin Order, the presidential Medal of freedom, he became honorary citizen of Canada, the Bharat Ratna of India, etc.
Mandela was honored by Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and Johnny Clegg, . His life has been portrayed in television and cinema. Numerous statues and monuments have been erected in his name in U.K. and South Africa.
And he is a hero of our time, because like the Phoenix he was reborn from the ashes and fought very hard to conquest injustice, oppression, corruption, discrimination and stupidity. He fought with dialogue, understanding, perseverance, hope and reason.
He was a little boy born in a remote village, where normally he would´ve become in another member of the tribe, but destiny had different plans for him, he was meant to become a visionary, a role model for change and progress. He simply was reborn from the ashes many times and came back stronger, wiser and bolder.
By: Oskar Guzman
Source: Wikipedia, Time,