Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who was widely known for leading his country out of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5th, at the age of 95.
The death of Mandela was publicly announced by South African president Jacob Zuma in a televised address last Thursday. According to the President, Mandela passed away due to a recurring lung infection caused by tuberculosis, which he contracted during his 27-year imprisonment. Mandela passed away in his own house in Johannesburg around 8:50 p.m., and will be buried in the village of Qunu, where he grew up and spent his childhood. “What Mandela has done for his country will never be forgotten and he will remain a huge inspiration to many people around the world,” said Ellen Choi, a junior at Leonia High School. “He seemed like a courageous, caring person who always did what was best for his country.”
With Mandela gone, many South Africans are left mourning the death of their beloved first black president who led the liberation of South Africa from the white minority regime. During his early years, Mandela was a member of an African National Congress party that aimed to take down the white minority’s oppressive rule in South Africa. Consequently, his actions landed him in prison and he became the leading global advocate for the anti-apartheid movement around the world. After being released in 1990, Mandela began actively participating in the elimination of apartheid in his country. Within the next four years, Mandela became the first black president to ever take office in South Africa. Under the presidency of Mandela, the economy flourished and successfully guaranteed equality for all of his people. “Mandela has done so much for his country and tried to do what was best for his people, which shows how loyal he was,” said Christine Yi, a junior at Leonia High School. “He is definitely a memorable figure in history and his contributions will be unforgettable.” Even after retiring from politics in 1999, Mandela remained a devoted champion for peace within his country and around the world. Thus, the United Nations officially declared July 18th as ‘Mandela Day’ in honor of Nelson Mandela’s achievements. His endless contributions to the world have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 along with another 250 honorable awards.