Hundreds of billions of people have lived and died, but very few had the instincts of inspiring a revolutionary change. Some inspired by actions and others through words. One of those extraordinary people was finest of the lot who possessed exquisite words, immaculate patience, matchless determination and greatest commitment. Nelson Mandela, the man who galvanized a suppressed group to become a nation, the figure who challenged the apartheid on its face and the leader who influenced billions to stand up for their rights, is feted on 18th July every year.
It is one’s dream to be globally praised and remembered. Mandela refused to allow celebration in his name and advised to mention the group as a whole. He stood firm for the people who remained under-privileged for centuries2. However, he believed that Africans were perfectly capable of deciding for themselves. Far before any signs of victory, he was sure that the seeds of victory had been sown and the construction of continent was underway. Mandela reaffirmed that the people were yearning to contribute to world politics and cultures and economies and pointed that one conflict in a region gives rise to many conflicts around2.
Mandela, the leader who was courageous enough to initiate the campaign against the all-powerful self-proclaimed masters, was a supporter of the British regime in his youth. However, the unjustified racial discrimination against the people of his colour prompted him to join the resistance. Mandela waked up his race to the reality of what African nations are worth by reminding them how they pioneered technology and arts in the past3. Even after the success in defeating apartheid, Mandela reiterated the need of liberating rest of the Africans, who faced tyranny, through interventions into the oppressive authority decision.
Nelson Mandela changed the meaning of detention and used his period in jail too to continue the struggle remotely. The defence during the prosecution used to be so influential that the listener thousands of miles away listening would accept the argument as correct. Despite the worst exploitation including physical and verbal abuse, and an inhumane place for a prison, he stayed on his stance. The influence on youth prisoners was huge enough that the authorities had to relocate him in the last six years of detention.
He failed thrice in university before being dropped off because he could not give time to studies as he was demanding for his people what should have been the basic rights. He had to face the times of relationship failures and the death of the loved ones, but the determination to lead his nation out of oppression never went away. After turning a disorganized group into a comprehensive nation, and leading the nascent country to significant gains, Mandela refused to complacency and went on to start Nelson Mandela Foundation to confront the health problems. The peacemaker strived to develop harmony among human beings and mediated the confrontations between nations at multiple occasions1.
Despite the health issues and oppression in prison, the passion for studies kept intact. Mandela was denied newspaper and outside world except once in six months for ten years. Nevertheless, he managed to complete his LLB and emphasized on education the most after victory over apartheid3.
Mandela devoted his entire life to the single cause: the recognition and provision of black rights. 27 years in jail under harsh circumstances could not mitigate his passion. In fact, he returned with more power and determination every time. Mandela was not only a single figure; the name is now an ideology that scares every oppressor and inspires the oppressed.
- Sternlight, Jean R., Andrea Schneider, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Robert Mnookin, Richard Goldstone, and Penelope Andrews. “Making Peace with Your Enemy: Nelson Mandela and His Contributions to Conflict Resolution.” Nev. LJ 16 (2015): 281.
- Crwys-Williams, Jennifer. In the words of Nelson Mandela. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2011.
- Nasongo, Joseph W., Philip W. Mukonyi, and Benard O. Nyatuka. “Nelson Mandela: Comparative Perspectives of His Significance for Education.” Sense Publishers, 2017.