Hopefully we won’t forget you, Madiba

Nelson Mandela, also known as Madiba, passed away at the age of 95 on Thursday, Dec. 5 due to illness complications. The former South African President, the first black president South Africa has seen, made his mark on humanity for being an anti-apartheid activist and bringing democracy to his country.
In a time when it was extremely risky for a black person to live in South Africa, Mandela joined the African National Congress at the tender age of 26 in 1944. He then helped form the ANC Youth League to spearhead the white supremacy in South Africa and to stop oppression of blacks. The ANC’s objective was to create a democratic, non-racially segregated society.
He was arrested in 1952 and 1955 for his political beliefs but was acquitted. After his acquittal, he spent time illegally traveling outside his country working to form a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic. Mandela became the face of the “Spear the Nation struggle” and traveled secretly to Africa and London to gain support for the strike. It wasn’t long before he was arrested outside of Howick, South Africa for leaving the country illegally and inciting strike. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment at Pretoria Local Prison, transferred to Robben Island and then back to Pretoria. Then, while in prison, he and nine of his ANC comrades were put on trial for sabotage, known as the Rivonia Trial. In 1964, Mandela and seven others were handed life sentences, where Mandela served 27 years on Robben Island with no bed and little food while he did daily manual labor.
South Africa’s president in 1989, F.W. de Klerk, finally lifted the ban on the ANC, starting the end of racial segregation, and ordered the release of Mandela. In February 1990 Mandela was set free and South African blacks rejoiced. In 1994 he was elected South Africa’s first black president. Mandela and Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their collaboration in South African politics. The nation united as one and for the first time in the country’s history, black people in South Africa were able to vote. Democracy had entered a new world.
This is only the tip of the iceberg to Mandela’s story. I urge every single student here to research his life to find out how he has really impacted this world because there is so much more. He sacrificed his life and family for his political views. His inspiring life story makes me want to be a compassionate and more open-minded millennial. What I wish for you to take out of his passing is to stand up for your rights and to recognize people of merit and talent.
On Nov. 30 the “Fast and the Furious” actor Paul Walker died in a car crash. Social media blew up with photos of him. My newsfeed involuntarily turned into a shrine for him, and all he did was make blockbuster films and drive fast cars. When Mandela passed, I only saw three posts about him on my timeline. Mandela demolished racial segregation in a country with a population of more than 50 million.
College students, especially in America, tend to be apathetic to political and social issues. My favorite Mandela quote is, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
He literally changed his nation’s course by educating white minority rulers on what a peaceful nation could be. He broke the barrier between whites and blacks and brought democracy to his country. If it weren’t for Mandela’s determination, South Africa might still be racially segregated.
Use your college education-that you have gone into debt for-to teach people what you’re passionate about. Don’t just sit around and complain on social media. Get out there and do something about it. Join an organization, educate people on your passions, and hopefully, as a result, our millennial generation can transcend its “selfie” point of view. Imagine America without racial barriers. As Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”