Nelson Mandela, South Aftrican anti-apartheid activist, passed away on December 5. Mandela's influence is undeniable, and his death is mourned in South Africa and across the world.
Mandela was born July 18, 1918 to Nkosi Mphakanyiswa and Nonqaphi Nosekeni. Born Rolihlahla Mandela, he was later given the name Nelson in primary school where it was customary to give children “Christian” names.
By 1942 Nelson Mandela had become increasingly involved in South African politics. In 1944 Mandela joined the African National Conference. In August of 1952 Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo began Mandela and Tambo, South Africa's first black law firm.
In 1964, shortly before his imprisonment, Mandela gave his powerful 'Speech from the Dock' in which he famously stated:
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ieal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
In June of 1964 Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela was then sent to Robben Island. While in prison, both Mandels's mother and eldest son passed away. Throughout his time in prison he turned down three conditional offers of release. He was finally released in June 1990.
In 1991 Mandela became the president of the African National Conference. In 1994 he became Africa's first democratically appointed president. Mandela served as president of South Africa from 1994-1999.
Mandela is famous for saying, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nelson Mandela was an activist for democracy and racial equality. He served as an inspiration for the oppressed. His life will continue to influence people for generations. His words will continue to serve as inspiration.