Nelson Mandela was a pioneer of peace, freedom and unity. The man who served 27 years in prison due to his opposition to South Africa's apartheid laws, and later became the president of South Africa, died today.
He will be remembered as a hero of the people, and one of the most significant leaders in history. The news was officially announced by South African President Jacob Zuma, when said "We've lost our greatest son."
Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla, meaning "Troublemaker," on July 18, 1918. He was renamed Nelson by a teacher in school. His health has been in decline for several years now, but he was able to extend his life through his power and perseverance, dying at the old age of 95.
"It always seems impossible till it's done" - Nelson Mandela. We say goodbye today to a true hero and inspiration. pic.twitter.com/Z80r0uBk9Z
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) December 5, 2013
Never doubt that one person can make a difference in the world. #NelsonMandela
— Dominic Monaghan (@DomsWildThings) December 5, 2013
Mandela was a pioneer of human rights, and has been the subject of several films including Invictus, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Winnie, and more. He was one of the nation's first black lawyers, and he joined the African National Congress in 1952, devoting his life to peacefully ending apartheid. He soon shifted his fight to the streets, and began to live on the run.
Nelson Mandela was later forced to serve 27 years in the Robben Island prison for conspiracy and sabotage, before getting out, and being able to change the country for the better. He has been looked up to as a hero by many people all over the world.
African American poet Maya Angelou spoke of Mandela's character when saying "Mandela represents the best any of us can hope for. He was a great man. … And I'm grateful. The world is better for having him."
I will never forget my friend Madiba. pic.twitter.com/UX21ZZG7cg
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) December 5, 2013
Nelson Mandela: Thank you for your resilience, your moral clarity, your fearlessness. Thank you for answering evil with love. RIP.
— Jennifer Granholm (@JenGranholm) December 5, 2013
Mandela was a very important figure in the 20th century, and people all over the world have been reacting to his death in a very touching way. His death is a great loss to all that knew him, or those that appreciated him for the great man that he was.
1 was convinced Nelson Mandela would NEVER get out of prison. When he did, and became President, I decided right then anything was possible.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 5, 2013
Celebrities, politicians, and citizens around the world have shown their support for the former leader, and will continue to do so with his upcoming funeral being held in South Africa. The Huffington Post released a slideshow of a wide variety of politicians who have all made statements about Nelson Mandela, and what he meant to them, including everyone from President Obama, to former President Clinton, and many others.
"Let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived." —President Obama
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 5, 2013
After choosing to only serve one five-year term as president, Mandela accomplished a lot for his people including introducing free health care for children, and he stepped up government investment in housing, education, jobs and infrastructure.
Nelson Mandela was a hero to many people around the world, and because of the things he accomplished, he is likely to continue to inspire people for generations to come.
Humanity has lost one of our greatest. RIP Nelson Mandela. Thank you for teaching us a deeper meaning of love, leadership & sacrifice.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 5, 2013
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” RIP Nelson Mandela
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) December 5, 2013
Image via Wikimedia Commons