Who makes a difference?

by oliviahollant on April 19, 2013 - 11:04am

South Africa is a part of the world that has come to my interest for the past month. The shocking story of the South African model Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead by her Olympian boyfriend, brought me to reflect on the need for change in this part of the world. I launched myself into a research of individuals who have attempted to bring a change to the South African society and was particularly fascinated by Nelson Mandela’s story.

Mandela is a political activist who has devoted his life to bringing equality in his country. After his studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and qualification to become a lawyer, he joined a black-liberation group called African National Congress (ANC), and soon became the leader of its youth. In 1948, South Africa’s National Party began to implement the apartheid, a segregation policy based on race and reinforced by law. During that year, Mandela ran non-violent campaigns throughout his country to protest against discriminatory laws and the ANC took a more radical direction. The government banned the non-violence group in 1960 and Mandela was arrested, sentenced to five years of prison, and then sentenced to life imprisonment on the following year. After being released from jail at the age of 72, the authentic leader became the head of the ANC, whose ban was lifted by the government in the same year. In the following years, Mandela was elected the first black president in South Africa’s first multi-racial election. It is undeniable that Mandela is respected all across the globe and has won many awards to highlight his accomplishments. In fact, earlier this month, an article posted on the Global Post described that Nelson Mandela’s obtained an award entitled “King of Human Equality” by The World Boxing Council. The author stated an interesting fact about Mandela in the article; the political activist was an amateur of box during his youth!

Nelson Mandela’s inspiring story definitely motivates me to take action and start the News Activism final project with a lot of will and positivity. I wouldn’t imagine myself devoting my entire life to fighting for equality in my country, though I do believe all individuals are capable of making a small difference in their own ways. For the final project, I will be contributing to the creation of a website with Health & Wellness Club at Champlain College. Posting an article to sensibilize students about my topic, domestic violence, and informing them on different organisms and volunteering opportunities available to help make a difference, is definitely a good way to make a small change in my community.