He was a champion of freedom, who spent one-third of his life in a prison cell; a revolutionary who espoused armed conflict against the state, yet became a global icon of peace and moral virtue.
Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, died on Thursday at the age of 95. Archbishop Desmond Tutu called him “one of the greatest human beings to walk this Earth.”
Certainly he was a giant of the 20th century, an extraordinary leader who — like Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and Pope John Paul II — confronted the oppressors of his time and, against enormous odds, changed the course of history.
Although best known for skilfully leading South Africa out of the violence and racial hatred of apartheid, Mandela’s greatest legacy is the magnanimity and moral purpose he constantly demonstrated to the world.
In 1990, he emerged after 27 years behind the walls of…
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