Nelson Mandela used the power of sports to unite South Africa

Nelson-Mandela-Francois Pienaar

Nelson-Mandela-Francois Pienaar

Nelson Mandela  has passed away at the age of 95, after battling a lung infection. The revolutionary icon and human rights leader, showed the world what strength and compassion are through personal sacrifice.

Mandela was falsely jailed for 27 years on charges that he was trying to overthrow South Africa’s government. When in reality he was simply opposing the country’s apartheid system. While serving his time, Mandela was subjected to hard labor and unjust living conditions. He still managed to earn a law degree from the University of London, and upon release in 1994, became the first black South African President.

During his time as president, Mandela introduced many social and economic programs, with the goal to improve the living conditions of South Africa’s black population. In 1995 Mandela united the country through sport, when South Africa’s rugby team won the rugby World Cup

 

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

 

NBA Commissioner David Stern released a statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela.

David-Stern

photos via @MikeTyson, @EvanderHollyfield