Today (July 18) the world celebrates what would have been Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s 96th birthday. The onetime president of South Africa, former political prisoner, Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and all around inspiration passed away last December, but his teachings of peace and perseverance still lives.
Mandela was the true definition of sacrifice yet his leadership and dedication to South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, is only part of why he remains a prolific figure in world history. It was his unbreakable spirit, and unwavering commitment to living life in the service of others is what made him a warrior.
He carried an air of humility even behind bars, as explained by fellow African National Congress prisoner Ahmed Kathrada in a 2007 interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper. “In the first years, we were allowed one visit, one letter, every six months and the letter had to be no more than 500 words, but we had colleagues who were illiterate,” Kathrada said. “Mr Mandela encouraged us all to study – we had to study. Not only politics, but learning to read and write. That type of initiative was very, very important. It also helped morale.”
Mandela’s refusal to be mentally broken although physically imprisoned is a testament to his leadership. In honor of his birthday, take a look at 10 memorable photos of the late freedom fighter.
May he rest eternally.