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article imageOp-Ed: Mandela dies at age 95

By Robert Weller     Dec 5, 2013 in Politics
Johannesburg - South Africa has announced the death, at the age of 95, of former President Nelson Mandela, who led the country in the struggle against white-minority rule.
Mandela had been sick for months and had been hospitalized several times in recent years.
South African President Jacob Zuma announced the death on national television.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in a column in AllAfrica said: “Not since Kenyatta, Nkrumah, Nyerere and Senghor has Africa seen his like. Looking for comparisons beyond Africa, he will go down in history as South Africa's George Washington, a person who within a single five-year presidency became the principal icon of both liberation and reconciliation, loved by those of all political persuasions as the founder of modern, democratic South Africa.”
Mandela, educated as a lawyer, won the Nobel Peace Prize for the unique way he led the struggle for one-man, one-vote, and the end of apartheid.
Although the African National Congress did commit violent acts to bring down the government, it never reached the level of other revolutions.
And when Mandela was released from prison on Robben Island after 27 years instead of seeking revenge he led his party to a political victory in national elections.
Former white leaders did not face firing laws. Instead a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up to review crimes during the revolution. Even acts of black militants were included.
The country knew they had a gem in Mandela, and he confirmed it when he avoided taking jobs from whites.
Perhaps the most symbolic thing he did was to support the national rugby team, the Springboks, win the World Rugby cup when the completion was held in South Africa.
One reason white South Africa surrendered to majority rule was the fact that the nation had become a pariah. Pretoria likely could have held on for years, but no one likes being hated. White President F. W. de Klerk shared the Nobel with Mandela.
Mandela brought South Africa into the civilized world. No longer did artists refused to visit the country or major manufacturers refuse to deliver their products.
Editors note: The writer lived five years under apartheid as an Associated Press reporter, and returned on numerous occasions to report on events.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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