Today, Tuesday 5 December 2017, marks 4 years since Madiba’s passing. South Africa’s first black president, and a man who helped usher in the end of Apartheid, passed away at the age of 95 after battling a recurring lung infection in 2013.
In honour of the incredible life of Nelson Mandela and his historic fight for racial equality, here are 5 inspiring things about Tata that changed South Africa forever.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”
1 He worked to maintain peace within South Africa as he brought down Apartheid
Many South Africans feared civil war and violence prior to the ANC’s victory. When Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, he established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human-rights abuses under Apartheid, averting a large amount of potential violence.
2 Madiba was a master of disguise, and an expert at evading arrest
Dubbed the ‘Black Pimpernel‘ for his incredible way of escaping capture, Mandela used disguises to evade arrest. He often disguised himself as a chef, fieldworker or chauffeur.
3 Mandela and Oliver Tambo set up South Africa’s first black-run law firm
‘Mandela and Tambo’ was started in 1952, in order to provide affordable legal counsel to black people who had broken Apartheid-era laws. In Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, he wrote, “I realized quickly what Mandela and Tambo meant to ordinary Africans. It was a place where they could come and find a sympathetic ear and a competent ally, a place where they would not be either turned away or cheated, a place where they might actually feel proud to be represented by men of their own skin colour.”
4 He initially began as a pacifist, then took action
At first Mandela was committed to nonviolent protest. He changed his stance in the early sixties and began advocating a sabotage campaign against the governement. Mandela co-founded “Spear of the Nation” or MK in 1961, the militant wing of the African National Congress.
5 When Nelson Mandela got out of prison, he only reinforced his fight against Apartheid
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela urged supporters to increase pressure on South Africa’s white minority government. He also called on the international community to maintain its sanctions.
“Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts,” he told the large crowd. “To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive.”
Rest in peace, Madiba.