Waking up to a world without Nelson Mandela was never so unimaginable. We have come terrifyingly close to it over and over again.
He was going for a long time. It was time, indeed well past time. But still the heart catches when the news finally comes. The idea of Nelson Mandela was strong and will remain so forever.
Nelson Mandela, who redefined the journey of his nation for the betterment of humankind, guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy- A Rainbow Nation- as an icon of peace and reconciliation who personify the struggle for justice around the world.
Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, the iconic leader Mandela emerged determined to use his stature and charisma to bring down apartheid- nearly 50 years of racial segregation by a white minority government in South Africa.
He was a true Gandhian in spirit who embodied his values and ideals.
While imprisoned on Robben Island Prison for 27 years, Nelson Mandela who later became the President of South Africa, and won the Nobel Peace Prize recited the following lines from the Poem Invictus by William Earnest Henley to himself and other prisoners as a way to bolster their spirits, and motivate them to press onward. He felt empowered by the message of self mastery.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Nelson Mandela, a long time champion of the anti-apartheid movement and former president of South Africa will be remembered for his unrelenting pursuit of racial equality and lifelong struggle against segregation and poverty, as well for his passionate belief in humanity. He has also been known for his ability to motivate millions with his words.
“Madiba”, the clan name by which he is known was always lauded for his humanity, kindness, attention and dignity.
“I leave it to the public to decide how they should remember me," he had said on South African television before his retirement. "But I should like to be remembered as an ordinary South African who together with others has made his humble contribution."
Mandela went on to play a prominent role on the world stage as an advocate of human dignity in the face of challenges ranging from political repression to AIDS.
“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity,” he had quoted this in his life time.
What an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was!!!