On this week’s segment of Love Something Thursdays, I’m going to express my love and admiration for Nelson Mandela. If you haven’t heard yet, this great man passed away today after a long struggle.
If you do not know who Nelson Mandela is or even some of his many accomplishments, you really should do some research; and don’t feel bad if you don’t know anything about him, just seek more knowledge. Maybe your lack of knowledge about him means you’ve led a life free of strife and hey, lucky you, and thanks for reading my blog!
Let me hit you with what I know about Nelson Mandela, which isn’t quite a lot, but enough to know that today marks the dawn of a new era. In South Africa in there used to be laws that separated the darker skinned South Africans from the lighter skinned South Africans. This system was called Apartheid and was sustained from 1948 to 1994 in South Africa. Nelson Mandela knew that this was not how life should be- people segregated and oppressed because of their skin colour- and sought to change that. It landed him in prison for almost 30 years. He became president of South Africa in 1994 and got rid of the Apartheid system, starting the slow journey to racial equality in South Africa. Today he is venerated as “South Africa’s Greatest Son” and as one of the most prominent civil rights activists of the last hundred years. He is an inspiration to everyone that has ever witnessed oppression and thought they could not change it.
Without Nelson Mandela, millions of people would be dead, physically and emotionally. I can’t speak for the many South Africans who died in protest of this horrendous segregation, but I can speak for myself and the countless young people in Canada who are inspired to take action because of Nelson Mandela’s work. Without the breakthroughs he made in his quest for equality, there would be a whole generation of people lacking the passion to make change. I have met countless amounts of young people who go to Africa on service trips (something I was never fortunate enough to do- yet, at least) and countless young people who are inspired to help their fellows at home. Even if you’ve never heard of Nelson Mandela, even if you’ve never heard the word ‘Apartheid’ in your life, you were inspired by this man and his life.
There’s not much I can say, really. His life is etched in stone, and serves as an example of true sacrifice. He showed everyone in the world what it means to be passionate about something, and what it means to reach your goals. He is what it truly means to make change.
I’ll leave this with a Nelson Mandela quote, and next week’s quote will definitely be one of his. He was an inspirational man, and deserves to be remembered as a hero.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Rest in Peace, Mr. Mandela- you’ve earned it.