On 18th July, 1918, Rolihlahla Mandela was born as a member of the Madiba clan, in the small village of Mvevo in South Africa. The only member of his family to obtain a formal education, Mandela was given the name Nelson by his school teacher on his first day at school. Attending Fort Hare University, Mandela was eventually expelled as a result of his political activity.
Mandela dedicated his life to the fight for equal rights between people of all races, battling against the apartheid regime, which was installed in 1948 by the National Party and sought to enforce racial segregation. Mandela studied and practiced law, consequently opening the first black law firm in South Africa. However, due to his political activism Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. In spite of this his resolve was never blunted and he upheld his principle of a united South Africa, and indeed a united world.
After numerous campaigns for his release and pressure put upon the apartheid government, Mandela was eventually given his freedom on 11th February 1990, after 27 years in prison. He went on to win South Africa's first ever fully democratic election, becoming the country's first black president in April 1994. A global icon and a symbol of hope in the face of overwhelming adversity, Nelson Mandela's example is one that leaves behind a legacy wreathed in peace and the belief that everyone is equal, no matter what the colour of their skin.
With many of Mahlatini's staff South African natives, his impact is incredibly personal for us. An inspiration we all aspire to, Mandela opened up South Africa to the world and in so doing has allowed us to share our passion and love of the country with others. Thanks to Mandela, his gift to us is our gift to you.
Sarah Fox takes time to reflect on her life growing up as a white South African, and the influence Mr Mandela's legacy has had on her personally. Read her blog here.
A man of inspiration, his command of language echoed this, with his wisdom often quoted. Below is a collection of 5 of his best:
"There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires."
"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."
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
"I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man."
"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."