Today the world joins together to remember and highlight one of Africa’s greatest heroes, Nelson Rolihahla Mandela. According to BBC Africa, South African president Jacob Zuma announced that the former president and anti-apartheid revolutionary passed away peacefully in the company of his family in his home in Johannesburg around 8:50 this evening Dec. 5th. He was 95 years old.
Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison. President Obama acknowledged Nelson Mandela, stating that he was one of the most “influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth”.
Since I was a child Nelson Mandela was always much more than an icon. He was a hero, teacher, fighter and most importantly a leader who gave inspiration to many.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela
Even though I was born in Eritrea and grow-up in America, I have found that you cannot remain untouched by the amazing Mandela. Historically known as one of the most influential icons of African history, Nelson Mandela is fighting the ultimate battle for his life today, physically. However, even in his weakest moment he still has the power to influence and bring people of different backgrounds and races together. Mandela’s legacy will always remain as important a chapter of Africa till the end of times.
Even during President Obama’s recent visit to South Africa, Obama stayed in the Rainbow Nation. His stay also included a visit to Robbon Islands, where Nelson Mandela spent years as a prisoner of the Apartheid regime of erstwhile, White South Africa.
Regardless of his life of struggle and hardship, Madiba developed a great sense of humanity. Although I have never met Mandela in person, his leadership, determination and drive he has left a great mark on my thoughts, and inspires me to continue to be a voice for the African Diaspora. As people around the world celebrate Mandela’s 95th birthday, I will pray for his health and hope for more Mandela’s around the world.