Reflections of South Africa: Nelson Mandela Version

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Reflections of South Africa: Nelson Mandela

This current day and time former South Africa president, Nelson Mandela is on life support in Pretoria, South Africa.

Mandela, 94, remains in critical but stable condition and has been battling a recurring lung infection since June 8, 2013.

I am happy I had the opportunity to visit South Africa for ten days last month and feel his incredible presence over the beautiful country. While in Cape Town, South Africa I had the opportunity to visit Robben Island where Mandela was a political prisoner for 18 years. From the 17th to the 20th centuries, Robben Island served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment. Today it is a World Heritage Site and museum, a poignant reminder to the newly democratic South Africa of the price paid for freedom.

My experience began at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town where passengers boarded a ferry where we traveled for about 40 minutes to the island, a place of triumph and victory. Once we arrived to the island we were driven around on a bus where a guide pointed out all the fascinating historical facts. Once the 30 minute guided bus tour was finished groups were divided and given a former Robben Island prisoner, who conducted the informational tour.   The Prison tour depicted the lives of political prisoners detained from the 1960’s to 1991. The entire experience was very emotional: to hear how all the political prisoners were treated weighed very heavy on my heart. The lack of food, lack of educational resources, and open mistreatment of the prisoners was sickening. Most of these men simply tried to fight for freedom or wanted to express their personal thoughts and feelings but were prosecuted for it. I found these men to be a source of strength in my life; they taught me that even in the midst of trouble how important it is to fight for what you believe for while maintaining dignity and self respect.

I also had the opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela’s former home in SOWETO in Johannesburg, South Africa. Visiting the actual home where he and former wife, Winnie, lived was so amazing. To touch the actual bricks and stones that formed the building, to see the old gun shots in his home, and to see and read some of his letters written while in prison left me speechless! This was the home Nelson came to immediately after his release from prison, the home where his children resided and I felt honored to be able to experience such beauty!

I pray that Mr. Mandela continues to successfully battle his illness so he may continue to inspire people such as myself.
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