Parks Panther Press

The Student News Site of Parks Junior High School

The Student News Site of Parks Junior High School

Parks Panther Press

The Student News Site of Parks Junior High School

Parks Panther Press

The Incredible Legacy of Nelson Mandela

The Incredible Legacy of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, born on July 18, 1918, was a South African civil rights activist who dedicated his life to peace. In the village where he grew up, Mandela would often hear the elders’ stories about their people having great courage in difficult times. Due to this, Mandela dreamed of helping his people in their time of struggle; he worked hard in school, attended the University of Fort Hare, and then attended Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. While in school, he studied law and became one of the first black lawyers in South Africa. 

At this time, South Africa was racially divided due to a segregation system known as apartheid. Because Mandela opposed this system and spoke about the injustice occurring, he was jailed for 27 years. During his imprisonment, Mandela demonstrated resilience, leadership, and an unwavering commitment to the anti-apartheid cause. The activist engaged in political discussions with fellow prisoners, fostering an environment of intellectual exchange that contributed to his development as a leader. Despite being confined, Mandela offered guidance and inspiration to activists inside and outside South Africa through smuggled letters and messages. Mandela’s unwavering resolve and adept leadership from within prison were pivotal in sustaining the momentum of the anti-apartheid movement, ultimately contributing to the dismantling of the oppressive system upon his release in 1990. 

His journey toward becoming the first black President of South Africa commenced with this momentous release in 1990. As one of the nation’s most influential leaders, Mandela played a crucial role in the negotiations that aimed to dismantle the apartheid system and establish a democratic, multiracial government. These negotiations, involving the apartheid government, the African National Congress (ANC), and various political factions, eventually led to the end of apartheid and the initiation of democratic elections. In 1994, South Africa held its first fully representative elections, and Mandela emerged as the clear leader of the ANC. After his historic win, Mandela was inaugurated on May 10, 1994, as the first black President of South Africa, symbolizing the triumph of justice, equality, and the end of institutionalized racial discrimination. After Mandela assumed the presidency, his tenure was marked by a commitment to national reconciliation and the dismantling of the apartheid legacy. For instance, he played a pivotal part in establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a platform designed to address the atrocities of the past and foster healing. In addition to his focus on reconciliation, Mandela’s government implemented economic policies aimed at addressing historical disparities and fostering inclusive growth. Mandela unfortunately passed on Dec. 3, 2013, at the age of 95 but will always be remembered as the person who laid the foundation for a democratic and multiracial South Africa.

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Michael Smith, Contributor
Michael Smith was born on February 9, 2010, the same year the 2010 Winter Olympics were being held in Vancouver, Canada. He was born and raised in Fullerton, California. He has one younger sister, a dog, 4 turtles, and many fish. Michael attended Hermosa Drive for grades K-6. His favorite activity to do, after doing a bunch of homework, is watching TV, but in the summer, he loves to swim. He shares a birthday with Tom Hiddleston, one of his favorite actors. He enjoys watching Marvel movies, where Tom Hiddleston plays Loki. In the future, he plans to travel to the Northwest, the Midwest, the East, and Europe. Michael’s favorite food is Breakfast Burritos. His favorite song is, “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. He first experienced flying on a plane in 2022, ever since then, he has loved to travel and wants to fly again. He plans to get into a good college, such as UCLA, and then he plans to get a good high-paying job. His goal for this year is to have a 4.0 GPA every quarter. He achieved this goal last year and wants to achieve it again. His favorite quote is by Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  

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