"I am prepared to die"
     "During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people.  
I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.  I
have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live
together in harmony and with equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live
for and to achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
     This was the final paragraph of a speech given to a court that was destined to
issue a guilty verdict against a number of freedom fighters.  The usual sentence for
the charge against them was "death".  After years of protesting non-violently against
injustices, cruelty, maltreatment, brutality, and open government sanctioned racial
discrimination; Nelson Mandela ended a four hour statement declaring he and his
organization's (ANC - African National Congress) total commitment to freedom.  He
had already sacrificed his whole life to this cause.  He had already been imprisoned
and severely punished for his beliefs and his leadership against an unjust
government.  At this point, Mandela was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for a
cause that would impact the lives of millions of South Africans.  After this Mandela
would spend twenty-seven years in prison.  Even as a prisoner, Mandela stood as a
global hero and champion.  His name symbolized the struggle for freedom.  He
became an inspiration for standing against injustice and upholding democracy.  
Mandela fought against a government totally against his people, their dreams, and
their aspirations for freedom and for human rights.  He would emerge from prison in
1990, still fighting for freedom and would see his people triumph in obtaining their
freedom.  He worked to solidify this freedom as President of South Africa; winning
the presidency in the first ever " national, nonracial, one-person-one-vote election" on
April 27th, 1994.  Self-sacrifice is only one character trait that Nelson Mandela
exemplifies; but his is a true example of one who has changed the world because of
his willingness to sacrifice his life for freedom.  More to come on this great figure in
history.

                                                                                                                     AG

Reference
     Mandela, Nelson
Long Walk To Freedom Little, Brown and Company, New
York,1995
Self-sacrifice