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Nelson Mandela: from lawyer, activist , liberation fighter, prisoner to leader

12 December 2016

Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were both lawyers who revolted against unjust laws. When unjust laws stopped them from achieving a just resolution to the plight of their people they turned themselves into political activists. While Gandhi succeeded in achieving his aims through peaceful methods Mandela went from being a lawyer, to a political activist, to a liberation fighter participating in armed resistance against apartheid South Africa. His people considered him a liberation fighter while his enemies considered him a terrorist. He was imprisoned  for 27 years and after his release “he participated in the eradication of apartheid and in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa.” Mandela the lawyer, the activist, the liberation fighter/terrorist, the prisoner, the leader  formed a “multi-ethnic government to oversee the country’s transition” and became a “devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013.”

The extraordinary journey of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela should teach us an important lesson and that is when laws are unjust people will seek justice by other means. Therefore as lawmakers and politicians we have a duty to make sure that laws are just and that people have access to justice through legal means. If we fail the people we will ultimately be responsible when they revolt against unjust laws for the sake of achieving justice.