“I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”
Billions walk the Earth today, but few have had the opportunity to change it. Last Thursday (December 5), the world lost one of its most notable heroes, Nelson Mandela. He was 95.
Titles such as Nobel Peace Prize winner, first democratically elected South African President, first black South African President, freedom fighter, prisoner, father, grandfather and husband only seem to skim the surface of how the world remembers Mandela.
Even before he passed, Mandela was more than a man; he was a symbol of truth, forgiveness and proof that people are good and can overcome even the harshest of adversity. He was a testament to hope and perseverance. Throughout his life, Mandela sought to bring equality to the forefront, even at the expense of his individual freedom. After spending 27 years serving a life prison sentence for sabotage, Mandela became a free man, was awarded a joint Nobel Peace Prize with F.W. de Klerk, voted in the first South African open election, won the presidency and ended apartheid in South Africa.
Upon his freedom, he sent a clear message: “We cannot climb to freedom on the corpses of innocent people.” And he lived up to it by bringing an end to the South African apartheid without leading the country into a civil war.
Although Mandela was named on a terrorist list in the United States until 2008, his influence is not lost on Americans. Today, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michele Obama, former George W. Bush, and former First Ladies Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton boarded Air Force One to Johannesburg, South Africa. There they’re expected to meet former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and attend tomorrow’s memorial service for Mandela before his State Funeral on Sunday, December 15.
Mandela’s inspirational life, from his civil disobedience to his excellent leadership and his ability to forgive even the most extreme injustices, makes his character and ideals aspirations for the human race. And in his death, he will continue to inspire for generations.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://wpmaster.sjadv.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/02/Cassandra-Bremer-Our-Space-Photo-e1402061863316.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.[/author_info] [/author]