Nelson Mandela, the legendary freedom fighter of South Africa, passed away on December 5, 2013. He was 95. Mandela, a symbol of inspiration not only to the people of South Africa but to the people of the world, will always remain in the hearts of all those who yearn for peace and equality.
Mandela led the people of South Africa in the long, arduous struggle against apartheid.
He was the towering figure in the struggle for freedom, democracy and human dignity.
Mandela was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1993.
Nelson Mandela, born in 1918, joined the African National Congress at the age of 25 in 1942 and was instrumental in the establishment of the ANC Youth League. He played a crucial role in the drafting of the 'Freedom Charter', the guiding force of the freedom and anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. He was also a member of the South African Communist Party, where he served in the Central Committee.
Mandela was confined to rigorous, solitary imprisonment for 27 years. But it could not break his indomitable spirit or make him bow his head before the authoritarian apartheid regime. The apartheid government was forced to release Mandela due to the popular pressure exerted by people world over.
After his release from prison, Mandela became the President of ANC and subsequently won the elections of free South Africa and became its first black President. Unlike many leaders who cling to power, Mandela voluntarily retired after serving one term as the President of South Africa. He remained active in public life working for the betterment of the living conditions of the people of Africa till his last breath.
Mandela visited India immediately after his release and was accorded tremendous reception by the people of India, who saw in him a fellow fighter against the unjust world order.
In Mandela's demise, the world has lost one of its finest sons who fought lifelong for the betterment of the peoples' living conditions. He was a true champion of the people of the Third World countries and all those who are oppressed and exploited.