A Hero, A Friend, A Worldchanger
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
On December 5, 2013, the heavens were given another humble soul: Nelson Mandela. While many mourn his death, his legacy moves on forever.
From 1948 to 1994, South Africa’s National Party instituted a racial segregation system called the apartheid. Inhabitants were segregated into four main groups: black, white, colored, or Indian. While the biggest damage done was the mental realization of being separated from your brother or sister, significant internal resistance and violence did occur.
Nelson Mandela stood against this injustice by becoming a member of the 1952 Defiance Campaign, in which he faced various arrests. Although nonviolence was one of his core values, he did co-found the militant Umkhonto we Sizve, an unsuccessful attempt to sabotage the National Party. As a result, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Mandela served twenty seven years in prison before an international lobbying for his release vindicated him. Upon his release, Mandela strengthened relations with President F.W. de Klerk and eventually became South African’s first colored president to enter office.
During his presidency, he changed the world as we know it. He formed a Government of National Unity to combat poverty, violence, and racism. He encouraged new healthcare services and land reform. Finally, he served international diplomacy efforts between Libya and the United Nations, as well as Lesotho.
While I did not have the privilege to meet him, I am inspired by his acts of courage, compassion, and honesty. Mandela went against the flow of society to stand for something greater – equality for all, injustice for none. While his physical self may be gone, his willingness to create change for the greater good will forever be remembered.