Anti-Apartheid Icon Nelson Mandela Passes Away Today At 95

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Former South African President and anti-apartheid hero Neslon Mandela passed away on Thursday at the age of 95. The announcement was made by current South African President Jacob Zuma. In recent years, Mandela had been battling poor health and had, for the most part, retreated from the media spotlight. Zuma aslo stated that the country’s flags would be at half-staff and that there would be a state funeral for South Africa’s former leader.

 

Mandela is most noted for being forced to serve 27 years in prison, most of it in solitary confinement, beginning in 1962. One of his most famous quotes came from the end of his trial, when he was sentenced to life in prison due to his anti-apartheid efforts:

 

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

 

He was finally released from prison in 1990. Four years later, when South Africa finally held multi-racial elections, he was elected President. He promised to serve only one term in office, which he upheld. After his term in office, he spent much of his time promoting AIDS research and awareness. It was a cause close to his heart. Not only was it a disease that plagued his country, but also took the life of his last living son in 2005.

 

There aren’t enough words to describe the impact Nelson Mandela had on his country and the world. He was one of the most important men of his generation and brought about real, positive change. Though he lived a long time, he had so many years robbed from him due to his fight for equality. He will be truly missed the world over.

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