Mandela’s Death: Honouring A Hero

SANGONeT joins the rest of the world in mourning the passing of South Africa’s founding father, President Nelson Mandela. Born on 18 July 1918, President Mandela, who became the first democratically-elected president after the country’s first historic elections in 1994, led the decades-long struggle against Apartheid.

Mandela’s dedication to South Africa’s liberation struggle was captured in the statement he made during the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial:

“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 achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Despite the inhuman treatment he endured in the hands of the Apartheid regime while serving 27 years of his life sentence in Robben Island, Mandela will be remembered for preaching reconciliation, the need for South Africans - irrespective of race - to work together to create a society in which everyone live as equals. During his release from prison he maintained: “Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. Our march to freedom is irreversible."

For many of us in the civil society sector, Madiba remains the beacon of hope whose leadership was not characterised by scandals, the looting of state resources, moral bankruptcy, nepotism and many other factors that have compromised the future of many democracies on the African continent.

The following views reflect the feelings of South African civil society organisations in response to Madiba’s death:

SANGONeT brings you comments and perspectives of various South African civil society organisations in response to Madiba’s passing.

Organisations wishing to submit contributions can still e-mail them to editor@sangonet.org.za.

 

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