Acknowledged as a revered statesman and anti-apartheid leader the world over, Nelson Mandela finally left this world at the age of 95 but he will always be remembered as an icon that changed irrevocably the course of history in his country and affected the world as a whole. Mandela changed the world’s attitude towards issues of equality and human justice. He was not only a beloved figure but also was a symbol of reconciliation from a country with a brutal history of racism.

Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy. He was a tireless fighter who reversed a despicable regime to reconcile South Africans and uphold democracy.

His defiance of white minority rule and long incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world’s attention on apartheid. He came to represent something that was much more than just about the resolution of the issues of the apartheid. He came to represent something quite inspirational for the future of the world and for the prospects of peace and reconciliation in the 21st century.

He was a hero for all times as he inspired people to forgive, to reconcile, to be selfless, to be tolerant and to maintain dignity, no matter what the circumstances. He asserted that “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”. While the world may never see another Nelson Mandela, he will always remain in the hearts of people as a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity throughout the world.

SYED ALI QASIM,

Lahore, December 9.