www.whyville.net May 29, 2007 Weekly Issue

Whyville Columnist

Change the World: From Prison to President

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I'm sure many of you know about segregation, the separation of blacks and whites. In the 1960s "freedom fighters" such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters lead the Civil Rights Movement to stop segregation and finally allow the blacks to vote. But, were you aware that such segregation continued into the early 90s in South Africa?

Now, in South Africa everyone who wants to vote, can. Before the uprising of the ANC, the African National Congress, the political life of the people of South Africa was limited to the white citizens only. Realizing that this was unfair, the ANC was created in 1923 and an army was established in 1961. The ANC was seen by many in the main stream politics of the country as a communistic society and a terrorist threat, none of which were true. After many years of fighting for their cause, along came a man named Nelson Mandela.

Mandela fought for years among the ANC, even becoming the Congress' official leader. Unfortunately his fight for equality in South Africa landed him a twenty-seven year prison sentence. But his time was not spent in vain; at his release on February 2, 1990 the President of South Africa announced that the ANC was no longer an illegal organization, but an equal political party. This not only allowed Mandela the chance to be President of South Africa, as he regained his leadership of the ANC, but also granted all blacks of the nation the ability to vote.

The first completely democratic election in South Africa's history took place on April 27, 1994. The ANC won 62% of the votes, making Nelson Mandela the country's first black President. His presidency lasted all the way up to 1999. During his time as President, he won over one hundred awards, the greatest of these was the 1993 Noble Peace Prize. Mandela has now become an icon of equality and freedom, even comparable to Mahatma Gandhi.

So fight for your cause, if you're unhappy with the way things are going, change them. Nothing is impossible; one man changed the history and future of an entire nation. This is proof that nothing can stop you once you put your mind to it.

Thanks for taking time out to change the world,


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