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Nelson Mandela – an international symbol of liberty and equality

The world will be celebrating Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18 — Mandela’s birth anniversary. When Nelson Mandela was born in 1918, an Xhosa member of the Thembu Royal Family, he was given the forename Rolihlahla, meaning ‘troublemaker’. He was subsequently named Madiba, his clan name, before being called Nelson at the age of seven, by a teacher in his Methodist church. Mandela Day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the formidable footsteps of Madiba, a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. His objective is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and in so doing, to build a global movement for good. A day not only to honour the man himself, but also a chance for us to join the global movement to make the world a better place. Most of us know the facts of his life: his fight against apartheid, his imprisonment for 27 years first at Robben Island, then at Pollsmoor Prison and finally at Victor Verser Prison, how he became the first Black President of South Africa, his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize etc. Nelson Mandela of South Africa was an icon for the modern democracy. He was a champion for rights of all humans and showed to the world that all souls are created equal without any string attached. He was a leader with a difference. A real leader according to him, works and serves the people making them know about their strengths. He was not for ‘power’, ‘money’ or ‘greed’. This humble soul was created for benefits other souls who were suffering. He said, ‘it is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see it realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die’.

Mandela followed three rules throughout his life, which he did at great personal sacrifice: [1] Free yourself, [2] Free others, and [3] Serve every day. Mandela’s greatest legacy is perhaps his commitment to the redemptive powers of hope and struggle. Peace was his motive. He achieved objectives for benefits of all mankind without ‘violence and killings’ which is a lesson to everybody in the present day world. He showed to the world that how humanity can be achieved through peace without violence and killings. In 1975, he wrote a letter from prison “The cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself,” and “Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.”  Mandela was a liberator of the stature of Gandhi. Both shared a common vision and passion for the breaking away of the shackles of tyranny and oppression. Both stand as stalwarts of our proximate history. Many people have been inspired by the South African movement, especially their decision to forgive and move on.

He was a superhuman being and an architecture not only of Modern South Africa but as well of the world. Mandela will always be remembered as a saint, a sage of humanity in line with Mahatma Gandhi. Hope our present and future generations learn from his great experiments with struggle for oppressed and downtrodden.


(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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