All of us dedicated to the well-being of Africa and its wildlife have, and will continue to, look to Nelson Mandela as a source of inspiration.
The world mourns the loss of an historical giant. Nelson Mandela spent his life working toward political justice and fighting against South Africa’s apartheid policies, but few know that his vision for South Africa included many conservation programs that helped conserve the nation’s land and wildlife.
In 1995, Mandela supported the establishment of Open Africa, a pan-African project that works to create travel routes to promote responsible tourism and contribute to rural economies. In 1997, together with Dr. Anton Rupert, Mandela founded Peace Parks Foundation, an organization that works to establish protected areas that preserve animal migration patterns and share wildlife resources. Peace Parks successfully implemented the Futi Corridor, which allows elephants in Mozambique to roam freely along the Futi River, from Maputo Special Reserve to the South African border.
Mandela has been quoted expressing his deep passion for the program:
“If we do not do something to prevent it, Africa’s animals, and the places in which they live, will be lost to our world, and her children, forever. Before it is too late, we need your help to lay the foundation that will preserve this precious legacy long after we are gone.”
Though we are deeply saddened by Nelson Mandela’s passing, he leaves behind an iconic legacy — one that is an inspiration to conservationists everywhere.
AWF will continue to celebrate Mandela’s life by helping to train the future conservation leaders of Africa, and by continuing the vital conservation work that he began. We thank Nelson Mandela for his unwavering devotion to Africa’s people, its landscapes, and its precious wildlife.
In memory of Mandela
Nelson Mandela is one of my heroes. He fought against political oppression and racial discrimination, spending 27 years of his life in South African jails as a result.
He helped lead South Africa to its first free, democratic elections, was elected the country’s first black President, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
He went on to rally the global fight against poverty and to speak out against the stigma and discrimination faced by those living with HIV and AIDS, calling AIDS a human rights issue.
He became a role model for human rights activists around the world, and his passing is a terrible loss.
I invite you to share your thoughts about this great man on our online Mandela Memorial now.
As President of South Africa, Mandela promulgated a new constitution and helped establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. Mandela may be gone, but what he stood for is eternal.
His name is synonymous with the struggle of people everywhere for freedom, equality and justice. Nelson Mandela’s memory will serve as a reminder of the heavy price that he and others paid to secure our rights and of the profound debt we owe them to remain ever vigilant and determined to confront injustice.
Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts on our Mandela Memorial and help us create a living memorial to one of the great human rights defenders of our time.
PS – Nelson Mandela fought against injustice his entire life. You can continue his work by writing letters to free people who are jailed or threatened because of who they are or what they believe. Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign kicked off this week. There is still time to sign up – get involved at amnestyusa.org/writeforrights
Share your thoughts on our online Mandela Memorial now.
The last great leader of the 20th century — and an inspiration for this new millennium — died here in South Africa yesterday.
Nelson Mandela touched all of us with his courage, his unyielding resistance, and his grace. He knew how to fight, and he knew when to make peace.
Inspired by Mandela’s vision, climate activists made a video last June during the Global Power Shift convergence coordinated by our 350.org crew. Please do watch and share the video:
As a South African, I am filled with an overwhelming appreciation for a man that gave the world so much — freedom, love, compassion, empathy, graciousness and of course, himself. Along the way, Mandela and his colleagues helped pioneer the divestment tactic that many climate campaigners are now emulating. I think the tribute he would like the most is the knowledge that people the world over are carrying on his work.
Mandela’s selfless determination is an inspiration to all of us, and we will keep his memory close to our hearts on the road ahead.
P.S. Can you take a few seconds to share this video on Facebook and forward this email to your friends and family?
“Six Things Nelson Mandela Believed That Most People Won’t Talk About“
In the desire to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life — an iconic figure who triumphed over South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime — it’s tempting to homogenize his views into something everyone can support. This is not, however, an accurate representation of the man.
Mandela was a political activist and agitator. He did not shy away from controversy and he did not seek — or obtain — universal approval. Before and after his release from prison, he embraced an unabashedly progressive and provocative platform. As one commentator put itshortly after the announcement of the freedom fighter’s death, “Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view.”
As the world remembers Mandela, here are some of the things he believed that many will gloss over.
1. Mandela blasted the Iraq War and American imperialism. Mandela called Bush “a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly,” and accused him of “wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust” by going to war in Iraq. “All that (Mr. Bush) wants is Iraqi oil,” he said. Mandela even speculated that then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan was being undermined in the process because he was black. “They never did that when secretary-generals were white,” he said. He saw the Iraq War as a greater problem of American imperialism around the world. “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care,” he said.
2. Mandela called freedom from poverty a “fundamental human right.” Mandela considered poverty one of the greatest evils in the world, and spoke out against inequality everywhere. “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils,” he said. He considered ending poverty a basic human duty: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life,” he said. “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
3. Mandela criticized the “War on Terror” and the labeling of individuals as terrorists, even Osama Bin Laden, without due process. On the U.S. terrorist watch list until 2008 himself, Mandela was an outspoken critic of President George W. Bush’s war on terror. He warned against rushing to label terrorists without due process. While calling for Osama bin Laden to be brought to justice, Mandela said, “The labeling of Osama bin Laden as the terrorist responsible for those acts before he had been tried and convicted could also be seen as undermining some of the basic tenets of the rule of law.”
4. Mandela called out racism in America. On a trip to New York City in 1990, Mandela made a point of visiting Harlem and praising African Americans’ struggles against “the injustices of racist discrimination and economic equality.” He reminded a larger crowd at Yankee Stadium that racism was not exclusively a South African phenomenon. “As we enter the last decade of the 20th century, it is intolerable, unacceptable, that the cancer of racism is still eating away at the fabric of societies in different parts of our planet,” he said. “All of us, black and white, should spare no effort in our struggle against all forms and manifestations of racism, wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.”
5. Mandela embraced some of America’s biggest political enemies. Mandela incited shock and anger in many American communities for refusing to denounce Cuban dictator Fidel Castro or Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who had lent their support to Mandela against South African apartheid. “One of the mistakes the Western world makes is to think that their enemies should be our enemies,” he explained to an American TV audience. “We have our own struggle.” He added that those leaders “are placing resources at our disposal to win the struggle.” He also called the controversial Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat “a comrade in arms.”
6. Mandela was a die-hard supporter of labor unions. Mandela visited the Detroit auto workers union when touring the U.S., immediately claiming kinship with them. “Sisters and brothers, friends and comrades, the man who is speaking is not a stranger here,” he said. “The man who is speaking is a member of the UAW. I am your flesh and blood.”
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