Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died Thursday, December 5, 2013.
During his life, he spent 27 years in prison for treason against the national government, fighting against apartheid, the policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. Although he was in prison, he continued to be an inspiring figure to those undermined by apartheid.
In 1990, he was released, and in 1993 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing stability to South Africa and ending the discriminatory laws. In 1994, he was elected the first black South African president. After four years of presidency, he stepped down, but continued to influence his country and the world as an ambassador, settling conflicts between countries on the brink of war and fighting against HIV/Aids, an illness his oldest son died of. Finally, he retired in 2004. His death was said to be from natural causes, as he was affected by respiratory infections.
Mandela has left a lasting impression on people all over the world, including students and teachers at Mountain View High.
Neha Cheemlavagu, a senior, said, “He ended a struggle that had been going on for so long, that no one else could really end. He made the whole world recognize what was happening.”
A history teacher, Sophia Caramagno said, “He is just a really great man, he is the Ghandi of our time. He had a huge impact on the whole world. There probably isn’t any other person on the planet that could have helped South Africa peacefully transition to the end of apartheid.”