By: Andrew Dusek
Nelson Mandela was a vocal champion of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. As an icon of the anti-apartheid movement and proponent of world peace, Mandela not only lent his voice to the people of his native South Africa, but also helped them find their own voice to speak truth to power and demand freedom. It would have been easy for him to seek vengeance against his captors, who detained him for 27 years and subjected him to forced labor for much of that time. Instead, he chose the more difficult route of reconciliation. Despite the suffering he witnessed and endured during his lengthy imprisonment, Mandela was not blinded by bitterness; he was clear-eyed in his vision for a unified, post-apartheid South Africa. Under his leadership, the “Rainbow Nation” inspired people from Northern Ireland to Rwanda to eschew enmities and embrace peace.