18 July 2013


Image Credit: the elders
There are only a few people that get the kind of honour Mr. Nelson Mandela is getting today. Having his birthday recognized by the United Nations--over 190 nations--and if you look at his life closely you'd realize he truly deserves it.
Rolihlahla was the tribal name given to Nelson at his birth. His father was a respected chief of Tembu, a black African group in south Africa. He attended the University college at Fort Hare--one of the few colleges that accepted black students at the time--and during his third year, his passion for justice was shown when he stood up against the school authority because they took away all powers from the Students Representative council for no reason. Well, he was later suspended because of his protest! But this was the earliest sign of his equality/anti-apartheid activism that later became his life goal.

It was during his time in Johannesburg he saw the ugliness of segregation and discovered what it meant to be a second-class citizen. This experience inspired Mandela to make a decision that he would help his people fight for freedom and dignity. So the fight against apartheid was born.
It was not an easy fight at all, in fact it almost cost him his life. After college, he got a law degree and he became a member of the African National Congress(ANC). The ANC was very instrumental in his quest to dismantle apartheid, and that ques took a loooong time. In 1964 Mr Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.
Those dark segregated years in jail under hard labour were a true test of Mr. Nelson Mandela's dream of a free and united South Africa. While in jail he kept working on his plan despite many periods of ill health he went through, thanks to poor prison conditions. In fact, the lung infection he developed in prison is what has kept him in the hospital for the past one month.

Image Credit: BET
 But he eventually survived it all, thanks to constant pressure from the International community asking for his freedom, and the death of the president. In December 1990, the prime minister declared ''apartheid cannot succeed'', and in February 1991--after over two decades in captivity--he announced Mandela's release from prison. This announcement was met by joyous celebrations around south Africa, especially in the black community.
The climax of it all came in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa in the nations first open election. This is how Mandela dismantled Apartheid and became a bridge between the white and black in South Africa and even the world at large.

Image Credit: thenewage
 Now you know why he should deserve such an honour right? But the question is how many of our leaders can boldly stand for ideals that benefit the future of the people they are representing today? How many of them can be willing to die for their people? Isn't their chief aim filling up their bank accounts till it overflows? I think we need to raise they standard!
A wise man once said, ''until you find something or a cause you are willing to die for, you haven't really started living''. So I guess the question is; are you really alive? That's a food for thought we can all eat today as we celebrate the great Madiba. Happy Birthday Mr Nelson Mandela!

BY: Milliscent Maduagwu (@millionscents)
Paragraphs For Nelson Mandela International Day 2013
All Rights Reserved

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