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Posted by Anonymous Thursday, February 11, 2010 Labels: , , , , , ,

Today is the 20th Anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and the beginning of the end of Apartheid. As I expressed in a recent post, Mandela's story is one that inspires me, motivates me, and wrenches my heart more than most.  Today, as all of South Africa and many throughout the world remember this day and honor Madiba, I find myself still moved by the power of it. I always will be, I'm sure. What's more, I hold it as hope for other African nations that I hold dear--that out of the most dire of circumstances, a true hero like Madiba could rise and literally save the people from the plight they've put themselves in.

Maybe that sounds a little dramatic. But it's true.

After a lifetime of fighting for freedom during the most severe oppression through White South Africa's Apartheid regime, Mandela was imprisoned, along with many other freedom-fighters, on counts of "sabotage". He remained in prison on Robben Island for 27 years. TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS. For nothing. He broke rocks most days.

In 1990, he was declared free by then President FW DeKlerk, who continued to pave the path over the next few years to dismantle Apartheid.  In 1994, the first black president (SA was 90% black Africans and yet was ruled by whites for most of their history) was elected to South Africa's parliament: Nelson Mandela.  A long walk to freedom, to be sure.

That is a crude history, and so I implore you to read up on Apartheid and on Mandela's life.  It is an important part of our modern global history and is inspirational to all who know of it.

Nelson Mandela leaves Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990 | Times LIVE Multimedia



Finally, keep South Africa in your hearts. While the celebrations of Mandela's life and work is joyous and freedom rings in the air, South Africa remains a dark and violent place.  Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika.