The Death of a Legend: Nelson Mandela Dies at 95
Posted by Hank Klinger on December 05, 2013
Today is a day of remembrance; a great world leader has
passed on to another realm. The Hero of South Africa and
27 year political prisoner Nelson Mandela has passed at
95 years old.
Nelson was known for his soft spoken demeanor
and his support of anti-racism world-wide.
One of the original members of the Elders Council, this man is a man that changed lives and changed the
world. There has never been a more humble sincere human being then this legend of character. Long has
Mandela been a hero to millions worldwide myself included.
Mandela had been facing various health problems and repeated hospital visits for some time before his
unfortunate death. But I don’t want to talk about that here. I want to focus on what he did for the world and for
equality. Mandela had the view of a better world and he lived into it, he promoted peace and joy around the
world for more than six decades after being released from his captivity during apartheid.
He was giving the opportunity to be the leader of the a torn country, and out of one of the greatest
displays of human compassion and forgiveness he made a choice to help run it alongside the very men
who were his captors.
South African President Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela, "the founding president of our democratic
nation, has departed," adding that he "passed on peacefully."
"Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father," Zuma said.
"Our thoughts are with the millions of people who embraced Mandela as their own and who saw his cause as
their cause.… This is the moment of our deepest sorrow.”
Mandela will be accorded a state funeral, Zuma said, and national flags will be lowered to half-mast.
"We saw in him what we seek in ourselves. And in him we saw so much of ourselves," he said. "Nelson
Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell."
Mandela's respiratory problems in recent years may be connected to his
imprisonment, when he contracted tuberculosis after working in a prison
quarry. He had been in hospital in recent months.
His hospitalization on June 8, 2013, marked his fifth visit to hospital in two years. In April 2013, he spent 10
days in hospital after being treated for pneumonia.
Mandela was a prominent international figure for more than half a century, first as a leading human rights
campaigner in South Africa and then as the world's best-known political prisoner.
Following his release, he again became the leader of the anti-apartheid struggle, and in 1994 became the first
president of a democratic South Africa.
On July 18, 2009, the first Mandela Day declared by the United Nations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
spoke about how "Nelson Mandela has made a lasting imprint on our lives."
Mandela: The birth of Leader
He was born the a tribal prince on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Transkei in the Eastern Cape
Province, his then given name Rolihlaha Mandela would translate from Xhosa as “Troublemaker.”
If you asked the White South African government this would become a fitting name. When Mandela was 9, his
father died, and he was sent to live with the chief of the Thembu people. He was expelled from university due
to protest activity. He in turn earned a BA from the University of South Africa years later in 1943 followed by a
law degree. It was about this time that he joined the African National Congress (ANC).
In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote, "I have no epiphany, no singular destiny, no
moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand unremembered moments,
produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people."
Founded in 1912, the ANC had been attempting to achieve a non-violent constitutional approach to winning
human rights for non-whites.
Mandela found the Youth League in 1944.
It was also in this year that Mandela married his wife Evelyn Mase and together
they had four children.
The enforcing of apartheid in 1948 gave a sudden need to the ANCYL’s movement, and by 1949 they hd
completely taken leadership of the ANC. The new way was that of self-perseverance for blacks and
determination which was done by boycott, striking, and public demonstrations of civil disobedience.
In 1948, Mandela was elected ANCYL secretary and, in 1951, its president.
In 1952 the ANC created a new program as the “Defiance Against Unjust Laws Campaign.” This new program
led to a violent response by the government and positioned Mandela as the newly elected president of the
Transvaal ANC and national deputy president that year.
Four and a Half Years of Trial
Apartheid was strengthened by the hostile South African government and the repression of the people of South
Africa was multiplied once again. In the year of 1956 156 leaders were charged with treason among other
offenses … Mandela was of them.
He led the defense during trial for four and a half years.
It was during these years that attacks by police increased. It was during this time that Mandela was once again
detained. In 1961 after years of trial the judge acquitted all the defendants due to lack of evidence and the fact
that the policy of the ANC was that of non-violence.
His marriage with Evelyn failed during these years and in 1958 he re-married to Winnie and fathered another
Mandela goes into hiding
It was soon after the trial he went underground and in August of 1962 he was detained again. This time
charged with the organization of a general strike and leaving the country without travel documents.
It was during this time that a police raid uncovered the acts of a movement called Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear
of the Nation), Mandela had helped form this movement in 1961. The 70 acts of “sabotage” against the
government landed Nelson with the charges of treason and sabotage and he would spend the next 27 years in
During the trial, Mandela declared from the dock, "I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society, in
which all persons will live together in harmony, and with equal opportunities. It is an idea for which I hope to live
and to see, but, my lord, if it need be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die." He received a life sentence.
27 years of life in prison
During the next 18 years he would spend time in Robben Island Prison where he would be forced to quarry
limestone. It was during this time that he contracted Tuberculosis which ultimately led to his death.
He would be transferred to Pollsmoor Prison outside Capetown in 1982. After six years in recovery from T.B.
he would be returned to prison in 1988.
In 1990 Mandela walked free … It was broadcast across the world.
Mandela Never Stopped Fighting
Even at 71 years old he didn’t stop. The reality was that this was the beginning of the end of apartheid.
Mandela was instated as the president of the now legal ANC. After a tour across 13 nations.
1993 the ending of an era of oppression would end. They would hold Democratic elections in South Africa and
apartheid would be no more.
1994 Long Walk to Freedom was published, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography.
The First President of South Africa
For the first time Mandela would vote in 1994, he would also be elected the first president of South Africa. The
internal war that many presumed would happen never see the light of day. Instead Mandela would oversee a
surprisingly peaceful change in history promoting forgiveness and reconciliation over punishment and violence
to the ones who caused the atrocious war crimes of the past apartheid years.
For two years he headed a coalition government alongside de Klerk until de Klerk and his party finally left the
In 1999, at the completion of one term in office, Mandela stepped down as
president, "an old man who wants to go into eternity with a smile on his
face," he said.
International Relations Specialist
Nelson Mandela wouldn’t stop there. He would spend the rest of his life helping solve conflicts around the
world. He would help the advancement of negotiations between Libya and the west.
In 2001, he visited Canada and once again would be deemed a honorary Canadian citizen.
In 2002, he founded 46664, a global HIV/AIDS campaign named for Mandela's prisoner number at Robben
Island and famous for organizing benefit concerts around the world. (His son Makgatho died of AIDS in 2005.)
The next year, he would establish the Mandela Rhodes Foundation to give scholarships and mentoring to
In 2007 after “retiring” public life he went on to establish
the Elders council.
The council is comprised of former world leaders whos main focus was on establishing world peace, the ending
of wrongful political imprisonment, securing humanitarian relief and womens rights.
There has never been a greater man to walk the earth than Nelson Mandela. There have been others of equal
merit, but none to surpass. It’s because of world leaders like Mandela that the human race still goes on today. I
also see the vision of a better world full of peace and harmony and can say from the bottom of my heart that I in
my eyes Nelsons Mandelas vision still has color, his words will always echo, and the truth of freedom and
equality for all of mankind will always be the force that drives me.
To end this Article … Thank You Nelson Mandela for a life time of service and an eternity of inspiration. You
will always be missed.
For anyone reading this looking to connect with someone who is a firm believer in human rights and loves to
meet others with a like mindset. I encourage you to Add me on Facebookor Follow me on Twitter. I
appreciate you and God Bless.
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