This week the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, one of the great freedom fighters of the Twentieth Century. After serving 27 years as a political prisoner for his campaign against the South African apartheid government, Mandela put aside thoughts of revenge and instead entered into negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk (then President of South Africa) to end apartheid and establish multiracial elections. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in peacefully dismantling the apartheid system and bringing democracy to South Africa.
In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa. After serving one term as president, Mandela retired from public office. He devoted the rest of his life to raising awareness of social issues, and in particular combating poverty and HIV/AIDS. He died on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95. This week he will be memorialized before more than 90 world leaders and a watching world.
Although his life and work were not without controversy, Nelson Mandela impressed and inspired people all over the world as he struggled to bring freedom to South Africa while emphasizing peace and reconciliation. He is remembered for his tenacious spirit and willingness to cast personal bitterness aside for the greater good.
Nelson Mandela is revered across Africa, and is likely a source of inspiration for our Nairobi Kids. In your next letter to your sponsored child, you may consider including a newspaper clipping of your local newspaper’s coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death and funeral. The children will be interested to see how an African leader is viewed across the globe. You may also want to include a few quotes of Nelson Mandela that may inspire your sponsored child to achieve his or her own personal best. Here are some of our favorites:
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
“When people are determined they can overcome anything.”
“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
~ Submitted by Brooke