Nelson Mandela’s birthday is today, and there is much to celebrate. A renowned champion of racial justice, he transformed South Africa and has been an inspiration for millions.
It was not an easy road for Mandela, but he was no quitter. From the beginning, he was destined to stir things up. He was born with the name Rolihlahla, which simply means “troublemaker.” And he was aptly named, for he was not afraid to stand up for what was right, even if it meant trouble for himself.
Dedicating his life to racial equality in South Africa, he was arrested and imprisoned more than once for his fight to end the apartheid. In 1963, he was sentenced for life. He spent almost four decades in jail, and not once did he back down on his belief of racial justice.
He held true to the statement he gave in court before his sentencing:
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
His staunch resistance inspired others to fight too, until finally the apartheid was broken in 1990 and Mandela was released. Three years later, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his brave and sacrificial actions.
Celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life by living today with extra intention to treat everyone equally and justly, what all fellow beings deserve. In the words of Mandela, “The time is always right to do right.” I can think of no better birthday gift than that — everyone doing their best to bring justice about in the world. Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela.
Feel free to leave your good wishes to Mandela in the comment section below.