R.I.P. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

Painting by Marc Alexander

Today we mourn a great loss for humanity – the passing of Nelson Mandela, a hero of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the father of the modern South African state. As a member of the African National Congress (ANC), he abandoned his nonviolent stance after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, and helped found Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the ANC’s military wing.

Mandela was arrested in 1962, sentenced to life imprisonment and served 27 years in the prisons of the white supremacist apartheid government. He retained mass support among South Africa’s majority black population and became an international revolutionary icon. After being released in 1990, he became President of the ANC in 1991. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end apartheid. In 1994, he was elected President of South Africa in the country’s first universal suffrage elections. By the time he stepped down in 1999, Mandela was one of the most respected figures of postcolonial Africa.

Nelson Mandela was one of the great liberation fighters of our time, a hero of the anti-colonial movement and the fight against global racism. Mandela’s life was fully lived. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all who struggle for emancipation. May his memory inspire revolutionaries to struggle harder and never stop fighting for a better and more just world!