The death of Nelson Mandela yesterday shocked and saddened the entire world – including South Africa, the country where he fought his greatest and most important battles and endured a twenty-seven year prison term, all of them a foretaste of what would be his ultimate triumph as the 20th Century came to an end: namely, helping to free South Africa from the decades-long straitjackets of both racial bigotry and ignorance that defined apartheid, a noble goal that would be continued when Mandela became South African president from 1994-99, and which still extends into the 21st Century.
Like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other social crusaders throughout history, Mandela fought for an important cause by addressing the injustices that shouldn’t exist, yet did – and the same time, called for the positive changes that would end those same injustices for good, while rallying humanity to his side. And like Gandhi and Dr. King, Mandela was willing to risk both his life and freedom to insure that future generations would enjoy their freedom in a world where fear and reprisal were both things of the past.
It’s easy to remember the many struggles that you confront on a daily basis, and not just at home and the workplace – before you realize that they pale in comparison to the far greater conflicts that whole nations have faced throughout history, like South Africa’s black populations which suffered for decades as a result of the injustices created by apartheid. And yet, what Nelson Mandela and other blacks in South Africa accomplished throughout their lifetimes proved to be far more powerful and relevant than even history’s most controversial empires – and that freedom and decency, in the long run, would outlast and banish the tyranny and hatred that would help make said empires a thing of the past. Mandela was not only a man and a hero to the world – he was also a symbol of the courage and conviction that exists within the best of humanity who could change the world for the better, while encouraging future generations to make sure that all of the world’s injustices will someday disappear for good. And in the long run, that might be the most enduring legacy of not only Mandela – but also all men and women of goodwill.
John Lavernoich is the author of three books (including the first two Chameleons, Inc. novels), as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet. To learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (http://johnlavernoich.weebly.com), as well as his pages on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), Twitter (http://twitter.com/JLav65), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-lavernoich/7a/b21/237), and WordPress (https://johnlav.wordpress.com). Mr. Lavernoich also maintains his own video channel on YouTube‘s website (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJz1MX0XKIPm8nSAccTNMjA), his own Author Spotlight page on Lulu Books‘ website (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Highroad), his own Profile Page on Amazon Studios‘ website (http://studios.amazon.com/users/59488), and his Chameleons, Inc. and Pictures Shop websites via Weebly (Chameleons, Inc. website: http://chameleonsinc.weebly.com; Pictures Shop website: http://jlpicturesshop.weebly.com).
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