Beloved Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela Gone At 95
Through failing health and limited public appearances, Nelson Mandela still spent the last several years of his life as a symbol of peace, harmony and leadership to the citizens of his native South Africa and to those inhabiting the rest of the world. Now, his memory will do the same. The ninety-five-year-old Civil Rights pioneer passed away this evening, setting off an avalanche of tributes and positive words from both admirers and those directly touched by his reasoned approach to government and cooperation.
The heartbreaking, though not terribly unexpected news, was delivered to the country in a speech by current president Jacob Zuma. Over the past few years, he’s continually give the general public updates on the ailing leader’s health. Today’s update was obviously a whole lot sadder, but in a way, it was also a celebration of the end of a life that meant so much to so many people.
Here’s a portion of the actual speech, as per CNN…
"He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves."
Mandela was born in 1918 in South Africa. He came from a line of rulers and politicians and spent his early years being educated at very fine schools. He later attended law school and became very politically and socially active, organizing rallies and speaking about non-violent resistance to the brutal segregated system of Apartheid. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Mandela was arrested several times for his actions and beliefs. In 1962, he was sent to prison and through regime changes and alterations in viewpoints by the larger world, by South African politicians and by Mandela himself, he still remained in prison.
His influence, however, never really went away. He was looked to as a beacon of resistance by many, and more than a few white South African leaders called for his release. He was finally given his freedom in 1990 and helped negotiate an end to Apartheid with President F.W. de Klerk. In 1994, he was elected President of his beloved nation. He served for five years and to the surprise of many, continually chose to put the best interests of the larger nation ahead of any one particular race and ahead of score settling.
Pop Blend’s sincerest thoughts go out to the people of South Africa and Mandela’s family members and closest supporters. He’s survived by a wife, six children and a slew of grandchildren.