Nelson Mandela: An Inspiration to the World

Kriti Jindal, Staff Writer


“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself” – Nelson Mandela

On December 5th 2013, the world lost one of the most revolutionary leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela.  Mandela was an innovative thinker. He was an activist who fought fiercely for what he believed. In the face of intense racial segregation in the 1940s in Africa, Mandela worked alongside the African National Congress to combat the oppressive white minority regime. For his actions, he was arrested and jailed for nearly three decades. He refused multiple offers to be freed from incarceration if he renounced violence, stating that black South Africans would not lay down their weapons until the white government did the same. His firm, uncompromising beliefs rightly won him many followers, and after he completed his jail sentence, he was elected the first black president in 1994.

As president, he eradicated apartheid and helped ease the country’s transition into a multiethnic society and government. Here, his honorable character came to the fore. Mandela demanded truth but did not seek retribution. He established Truth and Reconciliation Commissions through which he insisted apartheid leaders come to terms with their actions and apologize, but did not punish them further. Through his messages of forgiveness, teamwork and hope, Mandela was successful in accomplishing the difficult task of setting Africa on a path from oppressive apartheid to democracy in relative peace.

Nelson Mandela was not only a political leader in South Africa, but also an inspiration for the world. We stand to learn much from his messages of forgiveness and hope, humility and respect, and his never ending commitment to social justice.