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Nelson Mandela - an Appreciation by Paul Rance


In an age of ephemeral celebrity culture Nelson Mandela was a man who showed what greatness is.

Like many in the 1980s I didn't know who Nelson Mandela was until the song Free Nelson Mandela was released. Written by Jerry Dammers the song brought to the world's attention Mandela's years of imprisonment, for fighting against apartheid, on Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela fought against the oppressive apartheid regime until, eventually, the regime buckled. With a more humane South African leader in place, FW de Klerk, Nelson Mandela was released from jail on a bright February day in 1990.

After three decades of imprisonment, and four years after his release from jail, Nelson Mandela, remarkably, became president of South Africa. Victory was Mandela's, but he was not a man to gloat. After being elected in 1994 Mandela chose to try and end the bitter differences in his country, rather than to attempt to crush his former enemies.

Nelson Mandela can be mentioned in the same breath as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as men who risked their lives for their ideals. Let's hope, for the world's sake, that we'll see men of their stature again.

Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom
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