7 Remarkable Legacies of Nelson Mandela

This image was removed due to legal reasons.


Nelson Mandela will long be remembered for promoting peace and human rights all over the world. But his struggle didn't come without personal sacrifice.


The South African icon and former president's death was announced today, Dec. 5, 2013. He was 95-years-old. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years while fighting against a racist white rule in his home country. He did not let his time in prison make him resentful.

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies," he said.


As the world mourns Mandela's passing, we remember Mandela's impact on his country and his world. Here are seven legacies for which Mandela will be remembered.

quicklist: 1

title: Battle Against Apartheid
text: Mandela fought against the various forms of apartheid in South Africa, including the so-called "Pass Laws" which dictated that there were places where blacks were not permitted to live and work. The African National Congress (ANC), which Mandela lead, was outlawed in 1960 for their anti-apartheid activities.

After the Sharpeville massacre, in which 69 black people were killed by police, 42 year-old Mandela devised and implemented an economic sabotage campaign, meant to cripple the apartheid regime

media: 19367503

quicklist: 2
title: Imprisoned for 27 Years
text: Mandela was given a life in prison sentence for his attempts to bring about the end of South Africa's apartheid regime in 1964. During his imprisonment he contracted tuberculosis, which many believe to be linked to his ongoing health problems.
In 1990, in the midst of international pressure, President de Klerk ended the ban on the ANC, Mandela was released from prison, and discussion of a new multi-racial democracy finally began. During his time in jail, Mandela enduredå brutal conditions and intense manual labor in a quarry. He could only write and receive a letter every six months and was permitted only one visitor a year for 30 minutes.


Mandela spent time in prison reading, although it was forbidden. He says he came out of prison a "less foolish man" than he was when he came in.

"I left prison more informed than when I went in. And the more informed you are, the less arrogant and aggressive you are," he said.


media: 19367597

quicklist: 3
title: Nobel Peace Prize
text: After decades of fighting against apartheid, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 1993 with President de Klerk for their work to bring together a multi-racial democracy in South Africa.


media: 19367748

quicklist: 4

title: First Black President of South Africa
text: In 1994, for the first time in South Africa's three centuries of white rule, blacks and whites voted in democratic elections. Nelson Mandela was elected president by a large margin. Shortly thereafter, he handed over day-to-day governing decisions to First Deputy Thabo Mbeki, while he focused on the ceremonial duties of building a new image for the country. He was president until 1999.


media: 19368210

quicklist: 5

title: Peace Negotiations Around the World
text: Mandela also helped negotiate peace in other countries in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. In 2007, Mandela formed a group called the The Elders, comprised of global leaders working for peace and human rights.


media: 19368387

quicklist: 6

title: Challenging the Taboo of HIV/AIDS
text: In 2000, when AIDS remained a taboo subject for many leaders on the African continent, Nelson Mandela led a movement to make HIV/AIDS a topic which could be discussed openly in order to slow the spread of the disease. In 2005, Mandela announced that his own son died of AIDS, saying "Let us give publicity to HIV/Aids and not hide it, because [that is] the only way to make it appear like a normal illness."


media: 19367736

quicklist: 7
title: Humility and Honesty
text: To those who knew him well, Mandela's humility and honesty were the markers of the South African icon's character.


"Humility, friendship and openness make Nelson Mandela the man he is," said South African High Commissioner Dr. Zola Skweyiya.

Mandela once said, "Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility."


Many South Africans would agree that Mandela was all three.


Cristina is an Emmy-nominated reporter and producer. She recently won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for her documentary Death by Fentanyl. She attended Yale University and has reported for the New Haven Independent, ABC News, Univision, The Huffington Post, and Fusion.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter