When Nelson Mandela retired after serving one five-year term as President of South Africa in 1999 he laughingly said, “It’s important to step down while one or two people still admire me…” A joke, clearly, because, as the outpouring that greeted his death proved, Mandela was one of the most admired – and loved – statesmen on the planet.
Growing up as the son of a Xhosa tribal chief in South Africa’s rural Eastern Cape, the young Mandela rarely saw a white person. It was only when he began his education, and then moved to Johannesburg to train as a lawyer, that he experienced the reality of living in what soon became apartheid South Africa. “I slowly saw that not only was I not free,” he wrote in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, “I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did.”
Under apartheid, introduced by the Nationalist government o… [more]0 comments