“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have

discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment

here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest

for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

–Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1995).

Many people assumed that democracy and majority rule in South Africa would bring chaos and bloodshed. No political organization was allowed to non-white South Africans except those created by the apartheid state. Crushed by the repression of the early 1960s and dominated by the South African Communist Party (SACP), the African National Congress was unimpressive. Some of its leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were in prison in South Africa.

Looking back, it is impossible to imagine the end of apartheid and the birth of the new South Africa without Mandela. He was seen as the hinge on which transition turned. Historians will find it hard to disentangle the economic and political inevitability of apartheid’s collapse from the personal mission of its remarkable new president.

Mandela’s impact on the world was immense. The re-assertion of passion of the fundamental principles of human civilization by a man imprisoned for 27 years for being black .In South Africa, those principles became the foundation of the world’s most liberal constitution.