Last night, the world received the news that Nelson Mandela – an inspirational human being to generations across the globe – passed away at the age of 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma addressed his nation, saying: “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
Mandela’s anti-apartheid battle is legendary. He was an icon for peace, acceptance, revolution and resistance, as he led his country from white-minority rule.
Truro School Headmaster, Andrew Gordon-Brown, who was born in Cape Town and grew up in Johannesburg, said:
“We are flying the flag at half-mast at Truro School today, out of respect for perhaps the greatest political leader the world has ever known. It is no exaggeration to say that all South Africans feel that Madiba is their father or grandfather, and we all somehow feel that we own a bit of him.”
“Although I never met him, I felt as if I knew him. I was always struck by his graciousness, his moral authority, his sense of humour, his lightness of touch, whether he was talking to a prince or a pauper.”
Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for political activism, and served 27 years on Robben Island. He was released on 11 February 1990 and went on to champion multi-race democracy as the first black President of South Africa.
“Some say that without Mandela, who existed as a living moral compass for the nation, South Africa will become a more chaotic place,” the Headmaster continued. “I say that the moral authority he wields will be even greater, now that he is at peace. May God bless him.”