July 18th was Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. He’s definitely on the short list of true, living legends. Not because he’s a saint; no, most men aren’t. Rather for his life-long struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Then to further that goal throughout the world. Sadly, few know of Mandela’s journey from civil rights activist, to leader of his homeland.
For a moment, imagine wanting freedom and equality in your homeland. Yet, because of colonial rule, it being unlawful. Yes, during his leadership of the ANC (which was banned), guerrilla warfare was used. He was tried and imprisoned for almost three decades. Most men would have either given up, but this man persevered.
After years of international pressure, in 1990, de Klerk and the South African government gave in. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk earned shared Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994, Mandela like his great-grandfather Ngubengcuka, became ruler of South Africa. It should be noted that he made National Party’s de Klerk his first deputy. This was the first truly multiracial South African government.
Admittedly, Mandela stood on the shoulders of giants. But anyone can see, in his own right, he is truly a great man.