The esteemed Nelson Mandela died tonight in South Africa.
The world mourns his passing with an unheard of vehemence.
Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela’ was born on the 18th July, 1918.
He served as President of the Republic of South Africa from 1994 – 1999. He was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. He rose as the first black president of South Africa. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist. He was also the leader of “Umkhonto we Sizwe” (the armed wing of the African National Congress). 1962 was the year he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges. He was sentenced to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led the ANC in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. He held strongly to the idea of reconciliation and made it a priority during his term in office.
His words:”I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.
These words have evoked such respect and a strong sense of unity for the fight against issues affecting all South Africans. Song’s have been written to take into account his words and artworks painted to show the true face of struggle.
In South Africa, Mandela is often known as “Madiba” (his Xhosa clan name) or as “tata” which is the Xhosa derivative of “father”. These are terms used for respect owing to the fact that many South Africans(black people specifically) see him as the man who fought for them and nurtured the country into the adolescent age it now exists democratically in. He has been a guiding hand and a force to be reckoned with because of the magnitude of followers he has.
He has been ranked as one of thee most influential people in the world more than 10times in “Time” magazine. He counts fellow list-rankers like: Oprah Winfrey,Warren Buffet, Naomi Cambell, David Beckham, Queen Elizabeth II etc. as close friends.
Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Madiba’s passing has been predicted to unleash, not only grief and nostalgia, but a violent anger against the poverty and inequality that exists here still- exactly 2 decades after the end of white minority rule. Mandela said: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice”. Theoretically,it is believed that Nelson Mandela exerted some sort of restraint on a turbulent nation.
The future is a scary one now.
The New York Times has headlined Nelson Mandela as “leading emancipator of South Africa and international emblem of forbearance.” South Africans are his legacy,not a street or an institute,nor an event or a painting. It is up to us to live in a way that makes us worthy of what would have been his praise.
I am proud to be a South African when we have men of his stature rise up against gross human rights violations and triumph,saving the lives of millions and leaving a positive mark on the world.I am a lesser being, but Nelson Mandela still fought for me. I am undeserving of a moment of his time, but he spent 27yrs in jail for me!
Mandela was the face we needed in this country when things were at their worst, when streets were littered with the blood of tormented souls fighting for education,for food, for equality, for life. He represents all of the men and woman that lived and died for the Republic of South Africa.
His death is utterly devastating.
He will be accorded a state funeral. All flags to fly at half-mast until after the funeral on the Sunday the 15th of December.
Tata, sithi enkosi kakhulu. Wasinika ubom’bethu ♥This is the embodiment of his legacy, taken from Gus Silber’s twitter account today outside of his home.
- Madiba: 15 Things You May Not Have Known About Nelson Mandela (hiphopwired.com)
- Thoughts on the Death of Nelson Mandela (thesovereign.wordpress.com)
- Nelson Mandela: What Were We Thinking? (guardianlv.com)