Belated, Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela!

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Yesterday the whole of South Africa was celebrating the birthday of its most prominent figure and former president, Nelson Mandela. Mandela or ‘Madiba’ as he is affectionately known as did so much to spread worldwide attention on the plight of black South Africans, giving up an arduous 27 years of his liberty in a bid to rid South Africa of apartheid. Yet despite what they did to him, he valiantly continued and in 1994, became president and the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election.

Since then Mandela’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by the international community. Throughout his illustrious life he has won over 250 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. However, November 2009 marks the ultimate recognition of his efforts; the UN marked his birthday (July 18th) as International Nelson Mandela Day. As Mandela fought the battle against apartheid for 67 years, the whole of South Africa are asked to spend 67 minutes of their day to cherish the day; a small token of gratitude to a man who has given so much.

Many of today’s prominent figures offered their tributes. The Obama’s had this to say, "One of unbreakable will, unwavering integrity, and abiding humility". "By any measure, Nelson Mandela has changed the arc of history, transforming his country, continent, and the world."

Mandela trials and tribulations should be a testament to what happens when you stick to your ideals and do not give up the chase, no matter how hard people try to put you down. It appears these sentiments are followed by South Africans as they voted Mandela the greatest leader of all time, gaining a massive 71.6% of the vote.

Happy 94th birthday Madiba! We wish you many more to come.

Fortune Achonna

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