“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people, I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if it needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” -Nelson Mandela
Perhaps the most inspiring political figure of our time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela personifies perseverance, poise and inner fortitude. His epic struggle not only for the freedom of the black people of South Africa, but for a fully integrated and harmonious society has made him the hero of an entire generation of world citizens.
From his humble beginnings to his ascension to influence to his dramatic release from prison, Mandela has never wavered from his personal ideals. On many occasions when offered a comprise bringing him personal comfort in exchange for his dreams, for example while serve a lifetime sentence in jail he was offered early release on the condition that he abstain from politics, Mandela has acted in the interest of the people, deferring his needs for their dreams of freedom.
Since his triumphant release from prison and the fulfillment of his life’s goal – the abolition of apartheid – Mandela has served South Africa as its President and now as a trusted advisor of the African National Congress.
Mandela does not limit his influence to South Africa, however. He has served on numerous occasions as a mediator of international and Pan African conflicts, most recently in Burundi and is presently working in collaboration with UNICEF in the interest of the world’s children.