A Person I Admire: Nelson Mandela

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A person I admire

Nelson Mandela

Before the abrogation of Apartheid, South Africa was a country characterized by conflict, unspeakable suffering and inconceivable injustice. Minority ruled over majority, and society was deeply divided. Discriminatory treatment is not at all an absent unfairness in the rest of the world – quite the reverse. South Africa was simply the first country to name it – “Apartheid” literally meaning ‘separate-ness’, and administrate it as a system. People of any other colour than white, were underprivileged in terms of education, political voice and not least deprived their human rights. People were stripped of their dignity through abrasive rules – and it takes time for such a wound to heal, no doubt. When Apartheid was dismantled through negotiations and the first democratic election was held in 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected as president. One of his main intentions were to emphasize the importance of forgiveness towards a ‘Rainbow Nation’ in harmony and unity. In a future consisting of new-found recognition of human rights and democracy, it was vital to strive towards a peaceful co-existence amongst all South Africans regardless of colour, race, class, gender or belief. The oppressed majority was urged not to claim revenge on their persecutors –thereby becoming ones themselves. A yearning for justice was there, but vengeance, they realized, was merely going to predict a disastrous future. The world gazed with amazement on how the situations unfolded. A peaceful transition from such inhumane circumstances, to an egalitarian society had never been witnessed, and people were fearing a massive bloodshed. However, a historic effort was made to achieve reconciliation. This, I believe, is virtually Mandela’s accomplishment. He became the role model for a whole country, and managed to unite a culturally dissimilar nation in their common love for him as their leader. He is said to be the personification of ‘Ubuntu’ – the concept of...
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