Taking stock of his “vast” legacy for mankind, the United Nations will mark 100 years since the birth of the late anti-Apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela, on Wednesday.
“Nelson Mandela was a towering global advocate for justice and equality”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his video message for Nelson Mandela International Day, annually observed on 18 July, which was inaugurated by UN General Assembly in November 2009, in recognition of his global contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
Mr. Mandela, who died in 2013, was the first democratically-elected president of South Africa and the country’s first black head of State. He had been in prison for 27 years on charges of sabotage before being released and eventually elected president.
“He continues to inspire the world through his example of courage and compassion. Nelson Mandela was held captive for many years. But he never became a prisoner of his past”, Mr. Guterres said, noting that Mandela poured his energy into reconciliation and his vision of a peaceful, multi-ethnic, democratic South Africa.
“Rarely has one person in history done so much to stir people’s dreams and move them to action”, the UN chief said. “That struggle for equality, dignity and justice continues.”
“Nelson Mandela International Day 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of a true hero who left the world a better and more just place than he found it,” Mr. Fedotov said.