Nelson Mandela: World Leaders Pay Tribute To Human Rights Icon
South African President Dr. Nelson Mandela has left behind a legacy of achievements and inspiring struggles that continue to motivate people tall across the world.
Former South African President Dr. Nelson Mandela’s body arrived today, December 11, in the South Africa’s capital Pretoria where it will lie in state for three days at the amphitheater at the Union Buildings, once a symbol of the racist, white-dominated government in the country. The funeral will take place on Sunday, December 15, in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
One of the greatest ambassadors of humanity and the leading light of the anti-apartheid revolution in South Africa, Dr. Nelson Mandela has left behind a legacy of achievements and inspiring struggles that continue to motivate people all across the world.
The revolutionary changes he brought about to help Blacks find their own place of respect and equality among their White colonizers has become part of folklore. His life and works have inspired filmmakers, writers and generations of social activists, human rights workers, world leaders and of course, the common people.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the spearhead of anti-apartheid movement in South Africa was a revolutionary politician, social activist and philanthropist. He was the first black South African to be elected as the President of South Africa (1994 to 1999) through a fully representative democratic election.
Mandela served over 27 years in prison for waging war against apartheid government in South Africa. He was released in 1990 under international pressure. He devoted his life fighting against apartheid, the system of racial segregation in South Africa which even Mahatma Gandhi had fallen a victim to when he visited South Africa for studying law.
For his works of humanity and mankind, Mandela along with De Klerk was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The United Nations General Assembly, recognizing his contribution to the anti-apartheid movement, proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as “Mandela Day”.
Almost 100 world leaders converged at the memorial service in honour of Dr. Nelson Mandela, at the FNB Stadium, in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa.
“His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy,” United States President Barack Obama told the massive crowds at the 95,000-capacity stadium in Soweto. “The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” he said.
The Nation in a blog post wrote, “Mandela, a lawyer by training and a student of constitutions, steered South Africa toward a broad understanding of human rights. When his country adopted its Constitution in 1996, he announced that “the new constitution obliges us to strive to improve the quality of life of the people. In this sense, our national consensus recognizes that there is nothing else that can justify the existence of government but to redress the centuries of unspeakable privations, by striving to eliminate poverty, illiteracy, homelessness and disease. It obliges us, too, to promote the development of independent civil society structures.”
Justin Chadwick’s film ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ successfully captures the ups and downs of Mandela’s life before he finally emerges as an epitome of incredible courage and humanity. The movie was featured in the recently concluded IFFI 2013.
Nelson Mandela breathed his last on 5th December 2013 at the age of 95 years. But the flame of Human Rights which he set alight will keep burning.
To know more about life and achievements of Nelson Mandela, read here.