The rare moral leader since Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. 
       One of the most significant things to have happened on the 10th of May in African history was the inauguration in 1994 of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa, following the first-ever democratic elections. Till then, South Africa was ruled by a system called Apartheid (an Afrikaans word meaning ‘apartness’), which was based on the segregation of races. On that day Apartheid, in South Africa, was eclipsed into oblivion. Coincidentally an annular solar eclipse occurred on May 10, 1994
       Addressing the crowds at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Mandela said, “We saw our country tear itself apart in terrible conflict … The time for healing of wounds has come … Never, never again will this beautiful land experience the oppression of one by another.”
      Nelson Mandela stands as an icon of courage, justice, and perseverance to people in South Africa and throughout the world. Imprisoned in 1964 for treason, stemming from his activities with the banned African National Congress (ANC), Mandela maintained his dignity behind bars and became an international symbol of human rights. Throughout the 1980s the rallying cry “Free Mandela” resounded on city streets and college campuses everywhere.
                Mandela was freed in 1990, as a result of the tremendous economic and political pressure placed on the South African government by the international community. He resumed leadership of the ANC and, after a triumphant speaking and fund-raising tour across three continents, entered into talks with President F. W. De Klerk regarding the future of South Africa. The result was the dismantling of apartheid and the establishment of South Africa’s first multiracial elections. In 1994 Mandela became the first president of a free South Africa. He retired from that position in 1999.
                Nelson Mandela and F. W. De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating South Africa’s peaceful transition to multiracial democracy. After the ANC victory in the April 1994 elections, Mandela worked to ease racial tensions, court foreign investment, and provide services to the victims of apartheid.
       Being unjustly deprived of his freedom for 27 years could not prevent Mandela from forgiving those who jailed him as well as those who kept him there. Through the strength of character involved, Mandela led all of South Africa to a new peace, and a new forgiveness
       Mandela announced that he will not run for reelection in 1999, and in December 1997 Thabo Mbeki succeeded him as ANC party leader.
       Mandela retired from public life in 1999. He currently resides in his birth place – Qunu, Transkei. After retirement, Mandela is active as an advocate in numerous social and human rights organizations.
       What’s remarkable about Mandela is that he  successfully maintained his integrity and stature even after taking office when so many freedom fighters become dictators, intoxicated with power. Thus, he is hailed as one the great moral leader of our time.
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