Nelson Mandela’s legacy

He changed the history of South Africa by defeating apartheid and proving to the world that forgiveness, wisdom, tolerance and diplomacy are more powerful weapons than rancor and hatred

In 1948 South Africa started one of the darkest periods of its history. It was that year that the government instituted apartheid, an inhuman regime of racial segregation that lasted for over four decades. During this period, blacks could not attend the same schools as whites. They could not ride on the same bus or live in the same neighborhoods as whites. Apartheid assured the white minority political and economic power over the country between 1948 and 1994. Mandela led the fight against this regime from the 1950s. In 1964 he was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. During the years he spent in prison, Mandela understood that forgiveness, tolerance and diplomacy are more powerful than violence, weapons and hatred.

                             Nobel Peace Prize

Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In 1994, he became the first black President of South Africa. After being elected president, he ignored any possibility of taking revenge against whites. Rather, he was able to maintain political and social stability in the country. Mandela’s first term ended in 1999 and he could have remained in power longer, but chose not to. His giving up power is another lesson he has left for politicians. Mandela died on December 5, aged 95, from respiratory problems. Dozens of heads of state went to South Africa to pay their last respects to one of the greatest heroes of the 20th Century.

Vocabulary
1 forgiveness – perdão
2 weapon – arma
3 hatred – ódio
4 inhuman – desumano
5 to ride – viajar através de um meio de transporte
6 to assure – assegurar
7 revenge – vingança
8 term – mandato
9 giving up power – aqui = desapego ao poder

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