Nelson Mandela – a legendary figure who gave South America independence from the apartheid passed away on December 5th while he was 95 years of age. Among some of the greatest statesman of the 21st century like Franklin Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy, Mohandas Gandhi and Winston Churchill, one of the most eminent leaders is Nelson Mandela, in the minds of a lot of people belonging to various regions.
The heroic status of Nelson Mandela is a phenomenon. Since a lot of years, his fame was limited to South Africa, where he himself used to reside. His popularity did not spread abroad until one day his trial took place for high treason and ending in the year 1961. Although he was acquitted, he stayed free for more time than a year before his conviction regarding the sabotage charges took place at Rivonia trial beginning in the year 1963. When he was confined subsequently for a long while of more than 17 years, he spent a lot of time on Robben Island which was a wind-scorched Alcatraz present off the Cape coast and at that time, only little was known about Nelson Mandela while nothing about him was seen. When his captivity ended on February 11th 1990, there was no contemporary picture of him which was published since the year 1964 and the world was only wondering how this man looked like.
When he was 71 years old, there were only ten years passed of semi-active politics which remained to him. Apart from that, more than any of the other individual person, he assisted during the decade in securing a conciliatory as well as mostly calm end to apartheid which was one of the greatest abominations of time. There was an infinite hope which started to a democratic South Africa in comparison to the most quixotic was been visualized before 20 years.
A pattern of paradox
Nelson Mandela is a person whose enforcement to obscurity was done for such a long time that according to the influence, he was a remarkable personality. His personality is not however an enough explanation to the depth of the overflowing affection which was met by him on his later travels whether toured around Africa while he greeted around 75,000 fans in a stadium in London and swept down Broadway while he was in a motorcade which was festooned by ticker tape which started fluttering on a New York street previously.
Nelson Mandela was considered as a celebrity and at this age, he set an extremely high fame value. When the pop star seems awesome, reality TV starts to make idols belonging to oafs and iconic which has a free application while it becomes meaningless and strange without being seen in a lionization regarding Mandela’s veneration coming to attend Princess Diana while the heroes, heroines are needed by the world and not chosen wisely. There was a need of hero in Nelson Mandela which was also aligned with the real thing.
Trouble and strife
For Nelson Mandela, there were a lot of challenges in life with regards to matrimony as well as fatherhood. When he was 22 years old, he escaped away to Johannesburg to avoid a marriage which his guardian, the Thembu regent arranged. After three years in 1944, his marriage to Evelyn took place who was the first cousin of his friend known as Walter Sisulu. He got four children from this lady who was also a nurse and her interest was more of a religious nature instead of politics which at that time was Nelson’s absorbing dilemma.
His second marriage took place in 1958 to Winnie who was his second wife and she came for sharing the political cause but from the initiation realized that his belonging was with the public. The children of Nelson complained of the same thing too as he himself reached to the same confession. He was even told that he was a father to the entire nation but never had the time to be a father to the children.
Although he was fully devoted to the courageous Winnie and in his autobiography written in the year 1994, there was publishing for the first time of some letters which were touching and were written to Robben Island while his second marriage also failed. Most of the blows were suffered by Winnie that were contained by arsenal in apartheid and included imprisonment, banishment along with remorseless harassment. However, she was not ennobled by suffering but instead just the opposite and in later years, she humiliated Nelson Mandela as best as she could which wounded and made him feel guilty regarding his failures in his matrimonial life as well as his children. When he married Graça Machel who was the widow of the first president Mozambique’s, when he reached the age of 80, he felt his wedding being fulfilled.
In love, Mandela was a confidential man unlike being in the public. He was a source of inspiration of millions of people who have never even met him and among the ones, who met him many of them were not able to remark on the extraordinary ability for empathizing and in return commanding respect. Among these, the most striking were the political opponents especially the Afrikaners who were the descendants of the early Dutch settlers belonging to the country.
There were some empathically hard manifestations for him as when he was bailed out of jail, the topic of sex sounded absurd for him. It might be because he was imprisoned when the sexual revolution of the year 1960s took place or it might be the many years which he spent being isolated made him a stranger in the company of females and this was not event due to the elements involving reservation remaining in his character since the time of his childhood which was not clear. He had difficulty overcoming the most serious admission regarding his denial in being the president and refusing to address the problem of AIDS. With the passage of time, when he openly sided in the year 2002 along with the campaigners fighting for wide provision regarding drugs in consideration of the President Thabo Mbeki’s face and cranky resistance. A man who was less would have chosen silence.
Modesty, humility, vanity
Most of Mandela’s ANC colleagues were startled when at the age of 33; his announcement was regarding him looking forward in becoming the first black president of South Africa. Even then, no rewards were expected by him even when he was an icon known of world renowned, he acted modestly while seldom taking authority for granted. On and off in jail, he denied privileges when he was given offerings rather than to other prisoners. His complains were given regarding wearing shorts and one of the ways in which the black prisoners were insulted and emasculated but denied the long trousers but he was the only one given, when two years after that, the agreement of allowing colleagues to wear long trousers also took place.
It is true that he was proud to be a part of the royal family being a descendant of Ngubengcuka which is one of the Thembu kings from whom the traditional name Madiba was derived. However his disdain was in behaving like some of the big men of Africa who were able to see only three visitors in total in the time of 15 years. Being a free man living in the 1990s, he wanted to live in the suburban comfort instead of palatial luxury in Johannesburg while returning to Qunu in holidays where his happiest childhood days were spent when a built a house on the basis of the design related to the quarters in the Victor Verster prison holding him during the final captivity years. No cult of personality was encouraged by him and the grandiose museums, reverential monuments as well as statues were all unknown to him.
His Influence and Legacy
When his time of death arrived, Mandela was known all over as ‘the father of the nation’ in South Africa and ‘the founding father of democracy’ which was seen as the national liberator who was the savior. The biographer of Mandela, Anthony Sampson, passed a comment that even while he was alive, the development of a myth took place around him which turned him into a secular saint and its power was so imminent that all the realities were blurred. In the decade followed by the end of his Presidency, the era of Mandela was widely known as the era of golden age of hope and harmony. All around the globe, Mandela was given an international acclaim for the activism given by him when he overcame apartheid while fostering racial reconciliation which came to be taken as a ‘moral authority’ having a great concern for truth.
In his entire life, Mandela continued to be a target of criticism. There was attraction of international limelight by Margaret Thatcher when description of ANC as ‘a typical terrorist organization’ took place in the year 1987. Although there were a lot of people who claimed him to be a terrorist while condemning his support in the year 1996 for his choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act, even then the truth about Mandela being a remarkable figure cannot be changed.