Happy Birthday, Madiba!

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To claim that today marks the 96th birthday of an individual would be a gross injustice to the memory of a man whose actions translated him into an idea. Nelson Mandela, in principle, shouldn’t be limited with the worldly roles and designations. More than practically pulling the nation of South Africa out of the clutches of Apartheid, he became an inspiration for minorities across the globe. In order for his greatness to live through generations and to celebrate it, a glimpse into how the great Madiba led his life is what is needed. Here’s wishing the person who chose to look at humanity sans physical differences, a very happy birthday!

1918– Born as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as part of the royal Thembu family in what was then called South Africa’s Cape Province. Even today he is addressed as ‘Madiba’ with respect, after the name of his clan..

1943– Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), a party that represented the Black South African population. Shortly after joining, he founded the Youth League of the Congress in order to work more effectively towards his goal of freeing South Africa from the Apartheid practicing National Party.

1962– Sentenced for life imprisonment after leading an armed struggle by means of destroying government property (Mandela had momentarily shifted his ideology from non-violence). His term in prison was smeared with solitary confinement and hard labor.

1990– It wasn’t until another 27 years that the revolutionary leader walked out as a free man from prison. The world ushered into a new era with the demolition of the Berlin Wall, anti-racist movements across countries and the efforts of Winnie Madikizela, Nelson Mandela’s wife.

1994– At the age of 86, he was elected as the first Black President of a free South Africa by the mandate of its people. In the same year, his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom that he had penned in the 1970s during his imprisonment was published.

2008– Even though it may seem surprising to most today, it was only six years back that the United States of America officially crossed out Mandela and the ANC from its list of terrorists and terror organizations respectively.

2013– Madiba took his last breath and the world mourned and celebrated at the same time.

Samiksha Bhan

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