South Africa has known centuries of colonization and segregation. The fight for freedom and equality, several men have led it. Among them, there is Nelson Mandela. All his life, he fought to defend his people. And you know what? He succeeded. This is the Odyssey of an incredible man who would become the first black president of South Africa.
"I spent 27 years in prison. I kept reading. I found particular solace in the 1875 poem by the English writer William Ernest Henley called Invictus, or invincible. It was my vital stimulus to resist and continue my battle in prison.
My cause reached more and more people, it was like a wave, like an earthquake, like water overflowing the banks. It could not be stopped.
I fought silently, increasing pressure on the South African government and apartheid and becoming an international symbol of resistance, I was the martyr of the fight against racism.
In 1982, I was transferred to the Pollsmoor maximum security prison and on 10 February 1985, the regime of African President PW Botha offered me freedom if I gave up my struggle. I could not accept such a proposal and turn my back on the ideals I had been fighting for all my life. I refused, I was offended.
No, I would not go back on it, not after all that effort!
In 1988 I was hospitalised with an illness and when I returned to prison my conditions were made less harsh. But I always refused to make political compromises as a quid pro quo for freedom, I would rather die.
South Africa was increasingly isolated as a racist state and Frederik Willem de Klerk, the country's last white president, was forced to give in to international pressure and pardon me."
On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released as a free man from South African prisons where he had spent 27 years. At the age of 72, the most important and complicated time of his political struggle opened before him, which was to lead his country towards democracy and reconciliation, sparing it a bloodbath. Until then a symbol of resistance to apartheid, Madiba would become a true global icon of peace and non-violence.
By Filippo, author of the tour "Nelson Mandela. The right way to act"