18 July 2016
Foremost anti-apartheid crusader, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, would have been 98 years old today, were he still alive.
Recognising the long history of Mandela’s leading role in and support for Africa’s struggle for liberation and Africa’s unity, the United Nations marks the Nelson Madela Day annually beginning from 2010.
It is also in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa, that the UN declared the annual Day at its sixty-fourth session in 2009.
The UN also recognises Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity as a humanitarian in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, promotion and protection of human rights in setting the day aside annually.
It recognises the former South Africa’s values in reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities.
The UN also set aside the day to acknowledge Mandela’s contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates who delivered this year’s Nelson Mandela lecture in Pretoria, South Africa, on Sunday, said Mandela would be remembered for generations to come “for his courage, his vision, and his relentless pursuit of equality and justice”.
He was born July 18, 1918 at Mvezo, South Africa and died in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.
His role models were India’s Mahatma Gandhi, and South Africa’s Walter Sisulu and Albert Lutuli.
Some of his famous quotes were: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’’
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’’
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.’’