Former South African president Nelson Mandela has passed at 95. He is famous for his diligent fight to end the racist policy of apartheid.
Madiba, as he is fondly called, has been facing a deteriorating health over the past few months and was hospitalized on June 8, 2013 for liver and kidney problems. Doctors further reported that he had a recurring lung infection and had been on life support.
President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma calls him, ‘one of the greatest men’ the world has ever seen and Prince Williams and wife, Kate Middleton say, Mandela is an “extraordinary and inspiring man”.
Mandela turned into an international icon after spending 27 years behind bars for conspiring to over throw South Africa’s government. He was released from prison in February 1990 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
He aided in orchestrating South Africa’s first multi-racial election in 1994 and became the country’s first ever black president under the ANC political party on May 10, 1994. He established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, TRC in 1995 which investigated human rights violation under apartheid and he then introduced housing, education and economic development initiatives designed to improve the living standards of the country’s black population.
He also encouraged the enactment of a new democratic constitution and he resigned his post with the ANC in December 1997, transferring leadership of the party to his designated successor, Thabo Mbeki.
He divorced ex wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela in 1996 and married Graca Machel – the widow of Samora Machel, the former Mozambican president - in 1998.
He’s been idolized, immortalized and has been portrayed by several prominent actors including Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier, Terrence Howard, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover and most recently, Idris Elba. In 1992, he made a cameo as ateacher in Spike Lee’s flick, “Malcom X”.
In 2008 Mandela was feted with several celebrations in South Africa, Great Britain, and other countries in honour of his 90th birthday. On July 18 2009, He was honored with the ‘Mandela Day’, observed on Mandela’s birthday as respect to his impeccable legacy for promoting community service throughout the world.
Nelson Mandela Foundation and the 46664 initiative (the foundation’s HIV/AIDS global awareness and prevention campaign) are some of his representation and the United Nations declared his birthday would be observed annually as Nelson Mandela International Day.
May his soul rest in peace