South African icon dies at 95

               Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s revered symbol against racial oppression and apartheid, died Dec. 5 at the age of 95 after suffering from failing health, including a reoccurring lung infection, for many years.

                Mandela, after spending 27 years in prison, emerged as a political icon in 1990 as he led his country away from apartheid. He urged the country to move into a state of equality and drew the attention of the rest of the world to the issue of apartheid when he fought against white minority rule and segregation.

                “Nelson Mandela deserves all the credit for changing the lives of so many people,” senior Brandon Clark said.

Revered by his country, Mandela became a hero to both blacks and whites. The country held a special place for Mandela after he became a hero for the country. Current South African president Jacob Zuma spoke about Mandela’s death and the legacy he left behind.

                “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” South African President Jacob Zuma said. “What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”

                Although Mandela was loved by his country, the United States had a rocky past with the leader, keeping on the terrorism watch list until 2008. During the Reagan administration, Communism was still viewed as a primary enemy. This conflicted with Mandela’s cause because he was a part of the African National Congress, which still contained members of the South African Communist Party.

                Despite this technicality, the U.S. still had the goal of destroying apartheid. While the fear of Communism was present, the U.S. eventually passed the necessary economic sanctions which had a hand in ending the apartheid regime. Mandela praised Reagan for the help, but it was not until 2008 that Mandela was taken off the watch list.

                The past is rocky, but Mandela deserves the praise and credit he has gotten over the years.

                “His life had a great purpose, and I believe that he was able to fulfill it,” Clark said.