Today, four years ago, South Africa’s first democratic president, father and saviour of our nation, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passed away at the age of 95, after suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection.
The world joined us in mourning his passing.
Who would have known when Madiba, born on July 18, 1918, into a royal family of Xhosa-speaking Thembu tribe in village of Mvezo, that this mere mortal would build and leave the legacy that he did, with his efforts to free a nation from its apartheid captors.
I remember well the weeks that led up to his passing. I dreaded the news that we all knew was coming. This great man changed the destiny for everyone in South Africa for the better. His childhood dreams became reality. His determination was inspiring as nothing stopped him from reaching his goal: take his country from the extremes of apartheid to democracy.
Nobel Prize winner Madiba first dreamt of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle after listening to his elders’ stories of the valour displayed by his ancestors’ during the wars of resistance.
He became more involved in politics from 1942 joining the African National Congress in 1944 where he helped to form the ANC Youth League, and it is from then that his actions have now become immortalised in history books.
Madiba was arrested at a police roadblock outside Howick on 5 August 1962 on charges of leaving the country without a permit plus inciting workers to strike. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment which he began at Pretoria local prison and was later transferred to Robben Island.
Madiba was soon returned to Pretoria prison where he was joined by 10 others (ANC and communist party activists) who had been arrested at Lilliesleaf Farm on charges of sabotage. He was now facing the death penalty.
On 11 June 1964 Mandela and seven other accused, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni, were convicted and the next day were sentenced to life imprisonment. Apart from Goldberg who was sent to Pretoria Prison because he was white, the others went to Robben Island.
The ANC was unbanned on 2 February 1990 and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison nine days later. Democratic South Africa was about to be born.
Madiba and President FW de Klerk immersed themselves in official talks to end white minority rule and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated as SA’s first democratically elected president on 10 May 1994.
Madiba only served one term as President during which he devoted himself to establishing equality for all and crushing all indications of the previously oppressive white rule.
Madiba never wavered in his devotion to democracy and inspired the world – not only those who were oppressed and deprived.
Madiba is revered globally daily and not only on the anniversary of his birthday and the date of his passing.
It is with the greatest respect that I have put this piece of editorial together. I, like many others admired his strength and perseverance.
We should all take the time to realise too that many of our dreams are not as immense as those of Madiba – we too should strive towards making our dreams a reality.
One thing that rings true is that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela will never be forgotten.
Viva Madiba viva….
Background source: https://www.nelsonmandela.org