California State University East Bay

Mandela: An Icon That Won’t be Forgotten

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Dec. 5, 2013. Do you remember where you were or what you were doing that day? I sure do. I was at my house just looking through random websites, and then found out that Nelson Mandela passed away.

I reacted to Mandela’s death the same way I reacted to deaths of others, in a state of shock and silence.

It was a sad moment and I definitely wanted to send my condolences. I even felt like creating a huge tribute for Mandela, unfortunately the best I could do was write, “R.I.P. Nelson Mandela” on my Facebook wall.

This past week, people mourned shocking deaths whether it be the death of Hershel from the comic book and TV series “The Walking Dead,” the death of actor Paul Walker who starred in “The Fast and the Furious” film series, but no death will be as sad and emotional as the death of the philanthropist, the activist, the former South African president, his excellency, Nelson Mandela.

After looking at all the dedications, the articles and the tributes from different websites and on TV—even today at church, my pastor paid a tribute to Mandela—I already could tell that Nelson Mandela affected many people’s lives.

I will tell you how Nelson Mandela affected me.

When I first heard about Nelson Mandela, I was still a kid: a naïve, clueless kid. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the year I first heard of Mandela, however, it was some time when I was very young at Carl B. Munck Elementary School.

I was looking for a book to read and I saw an autobiographical book on Nelson Mandela. The first thing that went through my mind was how funny his last name was—then again I should not really talk about funny last names, since my last name is incredibly difficult for others to pronounce.

I also thought Mandela looked like one of my uncles. As I got older and when my time in elementary school ended, I began to learn more about Mandela and what he has done for the world. I found out he was a philanthropist, a former president of South Africa and an activist who wanted to rid the land of its apartheid system.

As a kid, I discovered how South Africa was torn due to the separation of the white citizens from the black citizens, which was something that Mandela was trying to get rid of. Mandela was also an activist, fighting against HIV and AIDS and poverty in South Africa.

I did not know a lot about Mr. Mandela as a child, but after finding out all this information on Mandela, I can say that he was a man that was trying to do good deeds for the world, an inspiration and an influence to others.

Mandela had to spend half of his life in prison, but when he was released, he tried to bring peace everywhere he went. He may have been controversial but he still remains an important figure in Africa.

Although he did have a controversial past, I really wanted to focus on the good things he tried to provide. All I can say is that life would be great if we had more men who wanted to bring peace, end hate and fix the problems in humanity.

Hopefully the activism and philanthropy Mandela provided can be an influence to others, and with that being said, the last thing I have to say is Mr. Nelson Mandela, thank you for your contributions, thank you for your wisdom and thank you for trying to make the world a better place. We will miss you and hopefully, you can say hi to my grandparents for me.

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California State University East Bay
Mandela: An Icon That Won’t be Forgotten