In case anyone’s a bit wobbly on the facts, here’s a mini history lesson. The iconic figure insisted on walking out (not using a wheelchair) after being imprisoned for 27 years. A man of 71 years of age, Mandela was greeted with joy as he held hands with his then wife of 38 years, Winnie. Mandela raised his fist to signify the continuing fight to end apartheid—the systematic discrimination of races in the land—in South Africa.
Shortly after being released, Mandela delivered his first speech since 1964 when he was first sentenced to life in prison for treason for opposing white minority rule. Mandela became president four years later, becoming the country’s first black president.
“The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been,” he told thousands as he stood around of Cape Town City Hall. Mandela made point to emphasize the need and urgency to peacefully negotiate and rebuild South Africa and come to an equal settlement.
Currently in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma and the people of the country still acknowledge Mandela’s efforts and strive for that equality in a non-racial, democratic society. “This day marked a giant leap in the long walk to freedom, not just for Nelson Mandela,” Zuma said in his statement, “but also for the people of South Africa.”
Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013 at the age of 95, but his legacy, words, and powerful actions still ring throughout the hearts of South Africans and many others around of the world.
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