Today, 5th December 2013, it was announced by the South African president, Mr Zuma, that Nelson Mandela has died. His death follows an aggressive lung infection, which saw him spend 3 months in hospital this year alone. Mandela will receive a full state funeral and flags are to fly at half mast to mark the passing of this iconic figure.
Mandela has been an inspirational leader to admirers the world over. In 2004 I visited South Africa, including Robben Island and Mandela’s 8 foot square cell, where he spent 18 long years, just shy of my lifetime. It’s hard to imagine how he then spent a total of 27 years in captivity, but used this time to attain a degree and writing his biography, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, flying in the face of adversity.
Mandela became more than a person during and after his captivity, he was and will always be a symbol of a nation, and he was prepared to die for the rights of his people. His inspirational story will never be forgotten, and though they say actions speak louder than words, I’d like to remember Mandela through some of his best quotes:
“During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this 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 will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”