By Obed Manwatkar
“In my country we go to prison first and then become President. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.”
― Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013)
Similarities always Galore in the stories of the Most Unheard, Unseen, Brutalized and Marginalized ones. 18th July 1918: Legendary Nelson Mandela (MADIBA) was born. It's his Birth Anniversary.
Mandela’s fame rests on his role as a revolutionary leader who spent nearly seven decades of his life in the struggle against white minority rule and for a free and democratic non-racial society. His greatness lies in the fact that he is a visionary, a democrat and international political leader who exercises his influence and leadership with humility and respect for his colleagues and opponents alike. He is, above all, a man who is stubborn in his resolve to fight all forms of discrimination, injustice, and inequality. Son of a chief, Nelson Mandela studied law and became one of South Africa's first black lawyers. Early in the 1950s, he was elected as the leader of the youth wing of the ANC (African National Congress) liberation movement. When the country's white minority government prohibited the ANC in 1960, Mandela became convinced that armed struggle was inevitable.
Inspired by the guerrilla wars in Algeria and Cuba, he organized a military underground movement that engaged in sabotage. In 1962 he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for high treason and conspiracy against the state. From 1964 to 1982 he was confined to the notorious prison :Robben Island', together with several other resistance leaders. He was then moved to prison on the mainland until his release in 1990. During his imprisonment, Mandela became a rallying point for South Africa's oppressed, and the world's most famous political prisoner. Nelson Mandela shared the Peace Prize with the man who had released him, President Frederik Willem de Klerk, because they had agreed on a peaceful transition to majority rule.
The world knows MADIBA, who was he and what was he. In short to describe MADIBA was a Fighter against inhuman discrimination and the Apartheid. 'He Was a Dreamer as well as Lover of Life'.
Obed Manwatkar, is a Research Scholar in World Religions, based in Chicago, USA.