South Africa and the world lost a great man yesterday. As President Obama said, he doesn’t below to us anymore, he belongs to the ages. I grew up hearing of his struggle in the news. I read about him in textbooks. I studied him in my Political Science classes in college. I’ve followed his life and career for much of my adult life. In college, I especially enjoyed learning about him. We spent so much time in college studying the Founding Fathers and other US political giants, it was nice to read about someone who was alive in the present world political climate. Not only alive, but a pillar of humanity who had made so many amazing changes in his country and kept struggling every day to better the lives of his people. He was a modern-day hero, as NBC News termed it last night. I loved that he practiced what he preached. And his words always rang with such honest conviction. When he spoke, the world stopped to listen.
As a student of political science, I admired everything that Nelson Mandela accomplished, first as a protestor and revolutionary and then as president of his country. He was instrumental in ending apartheid. Now, as a woman who suffers from fibromyalgia, I admire his strength, courage, and his ability to never, ever give up. I suffer from chronic pain every single day. I battle my own body every single day. The pain knocks me down all the time and I have dig deep every time to get back up and continue my fight. But this man suffered so much more and yet he never, ever gave up. He kept fighting the good fight, even when we was locked up in prison for 27 years. He served as a worldwide inspiration even from a prison cell, and perhaps especially because of this. His accomplishments and inspirational words will be remembered for generations to come. He will be missed.