Nelson Mandela’s Death, A Long Walk to Freedom

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Loved and lauded globally, the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who died on 5 December 2013, has touched the lives of millions in his Long Walk to Freedom. Loved and lauded globally, the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who died on 5 December 2013, has touched the lives of millions in his Long Walk to Freedom.

Loved and lauded globally, the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who died on 5 December 2013, has touched the lives of millions in his Long Walk to Freedom.

Madiba handed us the building blocks to rebuild this great nation. SA Commercial Prop News is proud to be part of the continued development of South Africa.

Our deepest condolences goes to the Mandela family, South Africans, Africa and the rest of the World. We lost a man who literally dedicated his life on making a difference.

A Long Walk to Freedom

Nine months after Mandela declined to sign away his rights in return for release from prison, government minister Kobie Coetsee met him in Volks Hospital in Cape Town as he recovered from a prostate operation.

It was the start of almost five years of tense negotiations.

In 1988, as the “Free Nelson Mandela” campaign gained momentum, Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison, in Paarl. Then, on February 2, 1990, President de Klerk – who had taken over from an ailing President Botha – reversed the ban on the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations.

No one truly expected what came next – as de Klerk announced to a stunned world that South Africa’s most famous political prisoner was soon to be released from prison. Nine days later, on February 11, Mandela’s long-awaited moment of freedom was broadcast all around the world – and he was shown speaking on South African television for the first time since his trial.

As people danced in the streets of South Africa – and across the world – Mandela appeared at the gates of Victor-Verster Prison in a light brown suit and tie, holding Winnie’s hand. Then he punched the air in a victory salute.

At 8pm that night he appeared on the balcony of Cape Town’s City Hall to speak to 50,000 people assembled outside. “Our struggle has reached a decisive moment,” Mandela told the emotional crowd. “Our march to freedom is irreversible.”

But he added that the long walk to freedom was not yet over. “Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts,” he warned. “To relax now would be a mistake which future generations would not forgive.”

For the next four years, Mandela — now elected head of the ANC — led the negotiations towards a multiracial future for South Africa, refusing to allow the peace process to be derailed by repeated episodes of violence.

The Boipatong massacre in 1992, the Bisho massacre shortly afterwards and the murder of activist Chris Hani in 1993 all threatened the negotiations.

But at every opportunity Mandela emphasised reconciliation over revenge. His response to Hani’s brutal murder was to reach out, “to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being”.

Just over a year later, on April 27, 1994, South Africa’s first ever free, multiracial elections were held. The ANC won 62% of the vote.

“This is indeed a joyous night,” Mandela told the assembled crowds. “Although not yet final, we have received the provisional results of the election, and are delighted by the overwhelming support for the African National Congress.

“I stand before you filled with deep pride and joy. Pride in the ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own. And joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops – free at last!”

But he added that there was much work to do: “Tomorrow, the entire ANC leadership and I will be back at our desks. We are rolling up our sleeves to begin tackling the problems our country faces. We ask you all to join us. Go back to your jobs in the morning. Let’s get South Africa working.”

Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first black President on May 10, 1994, with the National Party’s de Klerk as his first deputy – the man with whom, a year earlier, he had shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

In his inauguration speech on May 9, in Pretoria, he promised a free and fair country for all South Africans. “We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”

President Mandela was already a hero to millions, but it was his humility and forgiveness in victory that touched even his enemies. From the moment he was elected, he made it clear that there should be no revenge against the white minority for the years of oppression.

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another…” he said.


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