Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.
Mr. Mandela became an LGBT icon when he advocated for sexual orientation to be put into South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution.
One of the world’s most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy, Nelson Mandela, has died aged 95. He is survived by his wife Graca Machel, six children and seventeen grandchildren.
The anti-apartheid leader had been under medical care since he was admitted to Pretoria hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Mr. Mandela had suffered repeated bouts of illness in recent months and had been admitted to hospital numerous times over the past year.
Nelson Mandela: Bio
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 18 July 1918, was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election.
His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.
”I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” – Long Walk To Freedom
Nelson Mandela: LGBT Icon
Following the end of apartheid, President Nelson Mandela’s government pushed to end all forms of discrimination. Mr. Mandela became an LGBT icon when he advocated for sexual orientation to be put into South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution.
The move meant that South Africa became the first country in the world to officially ban discrimination against gay people. Subsequently it became the first country in Africa—and the fifth in the world—to legalise marriage rights for same-sex couples. In November of 2006 the Constitutional Court stated…
“Banning same-sex marriages represented a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples.”
Nelson Mandela: Key dates
- 1918 Born in the Eastern Cape
- 1944 Joins African National Congress
- 1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped
- 1962 Arrested, convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison
- 1964 Charged again, sentenced to life
- 1990 Freed from prison
- 1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize
- 1994 Elected first black president
- 1999 Steps down as leader