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Nelson Mandela Dies at 95
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has finally gone on to enjoy his deserved rest after a long life spent saving South Africa from apartheid government. It was his anti-apartheid activities that landed him in jail in 1964, long after he had earned his Bachelor of Arts and also his law degree, and that law degree would be useful not only after he got back out of jail, an incredible 27 years later, but was useful even while serving hard time.
The prison floor was his bed, a bucket was his toilet, and he was made to work the quarries with other prisoners. They were expected to hammer rocks without stop, excepting for bathroom breaks, and if a prisoner took too many bathroom breaks, he could be charged with a misdemeanor.
In such instances, Mandela was the one all the prisoners looked up to, and looked to, to advise them how to handle the charges.
Such a sustained prison sentence did not make Mandela bitter, resentful, angry, hateful, but the opposite of all of these, so that when he was finally freed in 1990, his spirit had been purified, and he was able to go on to become the greatest leader South Africa has ever known.
One of his strategies as president of South Africa was to use something whites and blacks shared: a love of sports. He helped the black South Africans overcome their hate for the national rugby team, and once everybody was in on it, true brotherly-love could grow where before mutual hate had kept their hearts apart.
With wisdom and power like this, he was able to turn the nation around and let it establish the Reconstruction and Development Plan, by which the government created jobs, housing, and healthcare. He also helped draft a constitution that allowed for majority rule and a guarantee for the rights of minorities.
Another of Mandela’s values was loyalty, and he remained loyal to old revolutionary allies such as Yasser Arafat, Moammar Gadhafi, and Robert Mugabe, even though powers in the West disapproved. The West had not yet learned to take the anti-apartheid side, whereas the revolutionary allies had taken their side from the start. In this, Mandela would not be Machiavellian, but would be loyal at any cost.
“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” said Jacob Zuma, the current South African President. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
He also said that “What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”Nelson Mandela Dies at 95 by Daniel June