Former President Nelson Mandela passed away this week from
a recurring illness which ultimately claimed his life. He was born
in 1918 and died this week at the age of 95. President Obama
paid tribute to his life shortly after the world news announced his
Mandela was known for his lifelong struggle against the evils
of the apartheid system in South Africa which existed in one
form or another over the past 500 years. Mandela was freed
from virtual prison captivity in 1990 to global accolades and a
Nobel Prize shared with FW De Klerk shortly after securing
In his Nobel Lecture, Nelson Mandela explained the evils of
apartheid and his role in dismantling the institution which
enslaved millions in South Africa over the centuries. Here in part is
his speech to the assemblage:
We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace,
non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty,
violence and non-violence, human rights, poverty and freedom from want.
We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our
people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war,
violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people.
I am also here today as a representative of the millions of people across the globe,
the anti-apartheid movement, the governments and organisations that joined with us,
not to fight against South Africa as a country or any of its peoples, but to oppose
an inhuman system and sue for a speedy end to the apartheid crime against humanity.
His speech was well received. Mandela later on served as President of South Africa.
A hallmark of his program for restoring democracy to all the people of South Africa
was his emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation between and amongst the
various constituencies which make up South Africa.
This week Nelson Mandela will be honored throughout the world for his life and
ongoing work to achieve a unified nation free from the former system of apartheid.