“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”- Nelson Mandela
This quote from Nelson Mandela represents exactly how he lived his life and what mindset he had when he accomplished everything we see today.
My admiration for Nelson Mandela strengthened when I was able to travel to South Africa in 2010.
As I walked towards the gates of Robben Island Prison, I felt as if I had been transported to 1964 as a prisoner walking alongside Nelson Mandela; little did those prisoners know that they were amongst the greatest leader they would ever come to know. I could just picture him calmly going about his daily routine along with murderers and criminals, enduring punishment he knew he didn’t deserve. He was incarcerated for simply standing up for what he believed in. I stood in his cell peering out through the bars watching the sunset and let my respect and admiration for him grow.
What I find extremely admirable and commendable is that he was not discouraged after spending 27 years in prison, instead he used it that to fuel the fire that would ignite him to become the voice for the anti-apartheid movement. Mandela was released in 1990 after spending 27 years incarcerated, 18 of them being in Robben Island. Just four years later, his charisma and perseverance lead him to become the nation’s first black president in 1994.
This was South Africa’s first open election as well; pictures show all his supporters lining up to vote to support him in becoming what we know today as one of the nation’s best leaders. And just to think that when I visited his house in South Africa I thought of how he was just a citizen, a neighbor, a man with a burning desire to bring justice to the world. As Nelson Mandela once said “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”, and he gave us the perfect example of this.
I am merely a nineteen-year-old college student with a part-time job, and if he is an inspiration and role model to me I can only imagine what he means to other people. He has become a global figure, known for his wise words and selfless efforts to better the world. Nelson Mandela is someone who has left a legacy that will live forever.