Nelson Mandela’s Legacy 100 Years After His Birth
On what would have been his 100th birthday, we remember Nelson Mandela who worked for the African National Congress for over 20 years.
One source of inspiration can be found by looking not to the future but to the past. In July 2018, it will be 100 years since the birth of Mandela, one of the most visionary and influential political figures the world has seen.
Here are eight facts about the historic peacemaker who died in 2013:
- Mandela’s real first name is Rolihlahla, meaning, “Pulling the branch of a tree” or “troublemaker.” A teacher gave him the name Nelson because, in the early 20th century, South African children were often given English names due to the colonial presence in the country.
- He was the only black student in his law school class at the University of Witwatersrand.
- In prison, Mandela lived in a small cell without a bed or plumbing, forced to do hard labour in a limestone quarry during the day.
- His work in the quarry permanently damaged Mandela’s eyes, injuring his tear glands so severely that the leader could not produce tears later in life.
- Mandela made his final public appearance during the World Cup closing ceremony in 2010 at the age of 92. The final came down to Spain and the Netherlands, with Spain taking home its first World Cup victory.
- Mandela has received over 200 awards for his contributions to peace in South Africa, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- During Mandela’s administration, 1.5 million more children that are South African were enrolled in school and 2 million people gained access to electricity.
- Mandela was also a champion of women’s rights around the world, he said, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”