A man who freed South Africa from system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. One questions that is prevalent now a days is “WHO was the greatest of the statesmen of the 20th century?”On it list we have many personalities. Few names that comes to my mind are Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Jack Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. For many people, in many lands, the most inspirational personality and leader out of these would be the last, who died on December 5th, aged 95 and created a void that cannot be filled.
Mr. Mandela has walked a long road and now stands at the top of the hill. A traveller would sit down and admire the view. But a man of destiny knows that beyond this hill lies another and another. The journey is never complete.” F.W.de Klark referring to Nelson Mandela. Both were 1993 Nobel Peace Laureate who South African owes nobility and ambition to push their beloved nation forward.
Mr Mandela’s valiant status is exceptional. Mandela’s fame was confined only to the African region in the initial years. He gained visibility after his first trial, for high treason, ended in 1961. Though acquitted, he remained free for little more than a year before being convicted on sabotage charges at the Rivonia trial, which began in 1963. During his long subsequent confinement, more than 17 years of which were spent on Robben Island, a wind-scorched Alcatraz off the Cape coast, little was heard of Mr Mandela and nothing was seen of him. When he emerged from captivity on February 11th 1990, no contemporary photograph of him had been published since 1964; the world had been able only to wonder what he looked like.
He was by then 71 years old, and barely ten years of semi-active politics remained to him. Nonetheless, more than any other single being, he helped during that decade to secure a conciliatory and mostly peaceful end to apartheid, one of the great abominations of the age, and an infinitely more hopeful start to a democratic South Africa than even the most quixotic could have imagined 20 years earlier.
Today Mandela is rightly honoured as a hero and the anti-Apartheid campaign he led is celebrated as having ended an appalling injustice. But for most of history the racist beliefs against which he fought were almost universally accepted in white societies. In the broader sweep of history, Mandela will be remembered for helping to bring an end to the belief that people are inferior because of the colour of their skin. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Mandela was a great person – a black person, who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilisation. For all these deeds he will always be remembered as the person with a strong stature and a heart for the humanity.