I woke up, like any other day, do my everyday activities, I get to the lab and start to read some news, suddenly I discover yesterday was just not another day … yesterday was one of the most sad days for the people in this world, the people who believe in equality and peace, human rights and education as basis for a better world, today Nelson Mandela dies.
I don’t know what other people think about this, some may be surprised about me writing about a “politician” or think I’m just being mainstream in this issue (you just talk about it because everybody does) or maybe because I’m bored and have nothing to do but this … well … they are all wrong. I’m writing about Mandela ’cause I think it’s worth that people from all generations (specially the Miley Cyrus/Justin Bieber generation) remember who this person meant, what he did, what people in nowadays’ world need to thank him for, what is his legacy and what can we do to honor his memory.
I would like to start saying that I’m really thankful to the people who taught me who Nelson Mandela was, even when I was a teenager they hadthe patience to show me that sometimes your rights and the way the world looks at you are result of someone else’s fight … far away … and there is always a way to make a change. I’m proud to say that I walk in this world knowing who Nelson Mandela was, and I’ll be satisfied if I can introduce him to someone else. So here I go. [It’s not my intention to make a biography in this blog … There are already plenty of books and websites that do that (this is a good one of those) … This post is just a list with the ideas and facts, I think, are the legacy of Nelson Mandela.]
- He was formed in Arts and Laws. In both cases he interrupted his studies, but never stopped. He enter in the university to study Arts but was expelled because of his participation in manifestations and protests, he finished after transfer to another university. Years after, he started to study Laws, but dropped the university for having low grades. Later, he returned to his studies and finished them while he was in prison.
- Most of the biographies say that he fought for the equal rights of black people, not only in South Africa, but in the world, joining Gandhi’s pacifist politics. Actually, I think it’s wrong. He fight for equal rights for all people, from any race, age, culture or social background. He believed in a world with same conditions, in which everyone could live.
- He was the most fervent opponent of apartheid politics.
- He went to prison for 27 years, and got released in a very simbolic and immortal moment. I think that only few moments in the contemporary world history have brought so much hope as that particular moment in February 11, 1990, maybe just comparable to the Fall of Berlin Wall almost 30 years before
- He won the Nobel Prize of Peace in 1993.
- In 1995, he showed to the world how a leader could make some actions work, he conciliated the world thought sports, he has clever enough to saw an opportunity to make an impact through something as simple and strong as rugby.
- Liberty, Equality, Dignity, Conviction, Getting involved and Peace are the most present words in his speeches.
- In November 2009, UN announced that Mandela’s birthday would be celebrated around the world as the International Day of Mandela, an initiative to stimulate every citizen to dedicate 67 minutes to social causes – a minute per year that Mandela dedicated to fight for racial equality.
You know, there is no excuse for not knowing about Mandela, he was not just a politician, he was a real leader. If you don’t like reading big books or or political journals, then go for a movie about his life, and I don’t mean only documentaries from History Channel, BBC or any other cultural stream, I mean commercial-hollywood movies (do you like Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood? then go for Invictus) … do you like reading about socialité? then read what Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman, Prince William, Muhammad Ali, and many others can say about Mandela … do you like comic books? well, there is a Nelson Mandela’s Comic Book
Yes, he’s dead now, but what he means to the world will never be dead. He wasn’t a saint for sure, but left us a lot to think about. Maybe now Mr. Mandela could say to us “I did everything I could when I was part of the world, now it’s your turn. What are you going to do with your voice, your acts and your life? It’s up to you … do not waste it”