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Mandela Day: Celebrating A True African Icon, Nelson Mandela

Mandela Day celebrated every 18th of July, on the birthday of a renown icon for peace, selflessness, freedom, justice and for the major role he played in the anti-apartheid revolution in South Africa. November 2009 the day was officially declared as Nelson Mandela Day, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. However, other groups began celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July 2009.

 

Nelson Mandela born on the 18th of July, 1918, served as the President of South Africa from 1995 to 1999, which saw him become the first ever black South African President and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. This was after he was released in 1990 having spent over 27 years in jail for supposedly conspiring to overthrow the state and was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1999 he declined to run for a 2nd term as President, which is rare for African leaders who would rather spend all their eternity ruling.

 

Widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, he received more than 250 honours—including the Nobel Peace Prize—and became the subject of a cult of personality. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, and described as the “Father of the Nation”.

 

Some of his famous quotes:

 

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.

 

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

 

Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.

 

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

 

When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.

 

Rest in Peace Madiba

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