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happy birthday nelson mandela

July 18, 2019
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For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” — Nelson Mandela

I love South Africa because it represents freedom. It exemplifies the liberation of Black people — South African people — that is recent and new. The Apartheid system of institutionalized segregation ended on April 27, 1994, a mere 25 years ago. Black South Africa’s independence feels modern, and visionary as outlined in their constitution.

Nelson Rolihlahia Mandela (July 18, 1918 — December 5, 2013) was a revolutionary anti-Apartheid activist, a political leader and the first Democratically elected President of South Africa. He fought for Black freedom — his own, his countries and ours. His resistance and activism were measured and methodical — it was also selfless. His vision for democracy, equality and liberation is the blueprint for us today as we still struggle here in America for true freedom and a Black Future.

The ending of Mandela’s speech in a Pretoria courtroom on April 20, 1964, was one of the defining moments of the anti-Apartheid movement. It also perfectly epitomizes his life’s purpose, to work for freedom and equality.

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal 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 for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.