“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination” Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was amongst the most distinguished and popular statesmen of our times. In a world where cynicism about politics and politicians is a social norm, his passing resonates a sense of vacuum and loss marking the end of an era and leaving the world and human politics a less egalitarian place. Mandela was the first black South African to be elected President in a multiracial election and held office from 1994 to 1999. During his tenure as President, Mandela ensured harmony by including proponents of the Apartheid movement – people who had prosecuted him – in his Cabinet.
In 1962 Mandela was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial. A worldwide campaign lobbied for his freedom and he was released after 27 years. While in prison, Mandela said he “felt the lack of the wild.” A born conservationist, his contributions to environmental awareness and protection are numerous. In 1997, together with Dr. Anton Rupert, Mandela founded Peace Parks Foundation, an organization that works to establish transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs)—protected areas that conserve animal migration routes.
Nelson Mandela stood for many things. His iconic fight against apartheid was acknowledged by a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, among several other recognitions. Nonetheless, it is the man himself and all that he stood for that leaves a daunting legacy for his successors to follow.
SUJAN mourns the loss of this Legend and all of us pay tribute to his resolve, his spirit and the indefatigable energy his life demonstrated in making the world a better place, for humanity.