Photo from NBCNEWS.
We lost a great man today, Nelson Mandela, the revered South African anti-apartheid icon died today at age of 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma said, “Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost their father”. A state funeral will be held.
Nelson will be remembered for
- His faith in human nature even after being jailed in harsh conditions for 27 years. In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, he wrote, “No one is born hating another person because the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.”
- His ability to lower racial tensions, as President, he donned on a green jersey of Springboks rugby team to present the World Cup trophy to team captain. This iconic and unifying moment helped to dissolve racial tensions that were threatening to bring country to civil war (Quoted from NBSNews article).
- His negotiating skills that lead to end of the apartheid and to multi-racial elections in South Africa. Nelsen received the Nobel Peace Prize in honor of these actions. He became the first democratically elected President.
- His Charity work as AIDS campaigner. He lost his son to AIDS.
President Clinton said, “Every time Mandela walks in a room, we all feel a little bigger, we all want to stand up, we all want to cheer, because we’d like to be him on our best day.”
Former President F.W. De Klerk stated that Mandela would be unifying force in his death as he was in his life. De Klerk said, “When Mandela goes, it will be a moment when all South Africans put away their political differences, take hands, and will together honor maybe the biggest South African that has ever lived.”
De Klerk was correct in saying that we will be our hands together, but it will be more than just South Africa holding hands. We will all putting away our political differences to pay our respects and honor this great man.