South Africa’s first black president, the man who fought against apartheid, the man who fathered and raised the rainbow nation, died earlier today aged 95. And what a fight his entire life has been.
“Our people have lost a father,” said Mr Zuma. “Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love.”
Today we lost one of the greats of the world, a game changer, a visionary and above all a humanitarian. He is one of those men who shall live on, beyond history – like I said he was a game changer. I only got to learn about Mandela and everything he had done, gone through, to get to where he got, from my parents, through films, books and of course his continued work throughout his reign. Of course when you’re young you don’t really fully understand what is going on when it comes to race, politics and in South Africa’s case apartheid. But there is not one story you will hear or read when it comes to South Africa without Mandela’s name being mentioned – be it backwards or forwards movement, be it positive or negative news, Mandela’s name was there, and I’m sure it will continue to be.
“Nelson Mandela was not just a hero of our time, but a hero of all time.”- David Cameron.
The anti-apartheid icon served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999 after spending 27 years in the notorious Robben Island prison. Mandela was released in 1990 and went on to guide his country to democracy, bringing an end to white minority rule and securing black people the right to vote.
The rainbow nation is undoubtedly upset and emotional, with news feeds showing South Africans paying their respects yet paying tribute too celebrating the life of one of the greatest. With many of the mourners being young, a generation that wouldn’t have been around for apartheid and yet they understand – Madiba, as he was affectionately known by South Africans, touched many hearts and lives and it goes to show.
His reign may be over, but it will undoubtedly live on. Amandla Awethu!