Nelson Mandela: Icon, Legend, Inspirator

By EVONE HARRIS

Nobody knows what a boy is worth, and the world must wait and see; for every man in an honored place, is a boy that used to be.

“Nobody knows what a boy is worth, and the world must wait and see; for every man in an honored place, is a boy that used to be.”-Phillips Brooks

Dec. 5, 2013 marked the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela. This was also a day of global unification and remembrance as nations across every sea gathered not only to mourn the loss, but to also celebrate his life. For Mandela has led a life far greater than can be measured by words, and has impacted the hearts of every country as he led the battle against apartheid that would change the world.

In a statement of condolence to the Mandela family, President Obama honored one of his greatest idols and said that he remembered his first political action being an anti-apartheid protest inspired by Mandela who he quotes as having “achieved more than could be expected of any man”. President Obama also credited his own life journey to Mandela by saying that, “I could not fully imagine my own life without the example Nelson Mandela set.”

Mandela has proved himself to be a man whose life work is the grounds for inspiration of those who follow him, and whose strength is immeasurable by words. Growing up being a constant victim to social bias and an unjust political system, Mandela sought to change the ways of the world in which he lived.

At the age of 24, Mandela joined the African National Congress, in which he became a civil rights activist and actively participated in the anti-apartheid movement, his first step toward the fight for an equally just world. For 20 years Mandela directed peaceful, nonviolent acts of defiance against the South African government and its publicly racial policies. Holding fast to his beliefs of a better world, he would later be inaugurated as the country’s first black president, giving a new platform to the fight, and taking one huge step in a direction for change.

A true leader knows that the fight is never over, especially when pertaining to such an issue as apartheid. When Mandela retired his career from active politics, he maintained an active philanthropic schedule. His continued fight with segregation and discrimination would give rise to new generations of believers in the change. His life works are the inspirational grounds for later civil rights activists, most prominent being the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who also dedicated his life to the fight against racism and social discrimination.

Although time had passed, the social practices of injustice and inequality had not. So as new generations take the places of the old, we can’t forget the man who touched the hearts of every nation, to give rise and inspiration to new leaders who would change our lives forever. Mandela’s footprint is a true stamp of humility and brotherly love.

Sources: Biography.com, NationalPost.com

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