"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. 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." (Nelson Mandela/Daily Mail)
Nelson Mandela passed away at age 95. The former South African president and fighter for equality died in his home after a long illness.
Mr. Mandela is a symbol a world that desperately needs symbols.
The history of human society is consumed with man's search and fight for an elusive intangible concept called freedom. History is also riddled with our fellow man's quest of oppression and repression.
In our modern society, people fight to preserve freedom while others strive to limit or abolish freedom. Freedom, oppression, and repression are the cyclical history of mankind.
Upon his release from prison Mr. Mandela put past grievances behind to help build a new nation, a new government, and a better society for South Africa. He partnered with is former enemies for the good of all.
He was not just a man of soaring rhetoric and pithy sound bites. Nelson Mandela was a doer, a man of deeds, one who practiced the adage, "Actions speak louder than words".
In a country and continent ruled by strife he united people. He demonstrated what could be possible in Africa and showcased it on the world stage. While other African nations and their leaders set upon a path of destruction and genocide, South Africa rebuilt itself into a model of peaceful transition and growth.
Nelson Mandela fought for freedom. When his popularity led to power, he practiced what he preached. He governed in a manner that insured every South African, no matter their race or creed, would be equal. Unlike other African nations, South Africa became a symbol of the possible.
As president of a newly rebuilt government, he traveled the world with a smile, grace, and dignity to sell South Africa. He left the past behind to build a future for his country and all its people.
Nelson Mandela was also pragmatic. He knew what was possible and worked to accomplish it.
Nelson Mandela was so popular he could have been president for life, had he chose that path. In many African nations it was the norm. Instead, he stepped down after one term. He set the example as a new African leader.
Upon "retirement" he kept fighting for the issues that were important to him, poverty, disease, and freedom. He used his international popularity and out sized personality to bring world attention to these issues.
Western history proves to this day that no one truly cares about Africa or its people except for what can be exploited. Nelson Mandela knew that. He made the world care about South Africa.
Nelson Mandela is a sterling example of how one person can make a difference, not just in their own country, but the world. If ever there was a definition of world leader, it would be Nelson Mandela.
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