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Editorial: Mandela’s legacy is one for the ages

Ordinary people and leaders around the world have sang the praises of Nelson Mandela this week following his death in South Africa.

Tens of thousands gathered Tuesday at a Mandela memorial in Soweto, South Africa. Mandela is now in the midst of a three-day period of lying in state in Pretoria, South Africa. He will be laid to rest on Sunday.

A man named Madiba emerged from his home village to become a fighter of his generation against the racial apartheid policy of South Africa. Mandela would spend 27 years imprisoned by his own country for his activities against his government.

He emerged a man of principle, grace and integrity. He became the leader who transformed South Africa into a rainbow nation of freedom and democracy. His smile became his trademark, instead of hatred due to persecution.

Mandela the man may now be gone, but he enters history as one of the greatest leaders in generations. His legacy is now mentioned among such historical stalwarts as Abraham Lincoln, Mahat M’Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

After serving one term as South Africa’s president, Mandela chose not to seek re-election and returned to private life and transferring power peacefully to another South African. This is rather unique in the history of the African continent.

His life’s purpose was always freedom and equality.

His country as well as mankind owe Mandela significant gratitude for his resolve and wisdom in transforming South Africa and serving as an enlightened example for this world.

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