I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die — Nelson Mandela at his trial for treason in 1963
Nelson Mandela is the most revered political figure on the planet; and he is probably the only person who can merit the title of ‘global elder statesman.’
26 years’ imprisonment
He is most remembered as the man who spent 26 years as a prisoner of South Africa’s apartheid regime in the grim Robben Island prison near Capetown and then, on his release, became the country’s first black president.
However, the political prisoner and president has played many parts during his 94 years.
He became active in opposing the government’s racist policies from his student days in the late 1930’s and 60 years later was president of the nation.
Mandela has been a boxer, an orator, a revolutionary, a freedom fighter, an author, a family man, a catalyst for protest and a hero across the globe.
‘Free Nelson Mandela’
In the mid 1980s the popular song Free Nelson Mandela was hugely popular and in 1988, on his 70th birthday, millions around the world linked up in a mammoth pop concert dedicated to the man who symbolised the anti-apartheid cause.
Free Nelson Mandela
21 years in captivity
Shoes too small to fit his feet
His body abused, but his mind is still free
You’re so blind that you cannot see
He did live to achieve the goal of a free and democratic society in South Africa, but now lies in intensive care in the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria with the nation’s best physicians attending him.
Nelson Mandela has come through illnesses before. However, his lung infection at this time is very serious.
The world waits to see if one of the truly great political figures of the twentieth century will pull though.