All India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA) deeply mourns the demise of Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and an iconic freedom fighter of South Africa, who passed away on 5 December 2013. Mandela led a long and arduous struggle for freedom against one of the most brutal regimes in the world. He was a symbol of all the people in the world who struggle for freedom, democracy and human dignity.
Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela, born on July 18, 1918, joined the African National Congress at the age of 25. He was instrumental in the establishment of the ANC Youth League. He played a crucial role in the drafting of the 'Freedom Charter', the guiding force of the freedom and anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.
Mandela was confined to rigorous, solitary imprisonment for 27 years in the dreaded Palesmoor High Security Prison in Robben Island, off the coast of South Africa. This could not break his indomitable spirit or make him bow his head before the authoritarian apartheid regime. The apartheid government and its imperialist supporters were forced to release Mandela by the popular pressure exerted by people world over.
After his release from prison in February 1990, Mandela became the President of ANC and then went on to win the elections of free South Africa and became its first black President. Unlike many leaders who cling to power, Mandela voluntarily retired after serving one term as the President of South Africa. He was the Secretary General of the Non-aligned Movement during 1998-99.
In Mandela's demise, the world has lost one of its finest sons who fought lifelong for the betterment of the peoples' living conditions. In his death, all the people fighting for freedom and against injustice have lost a valuable ally. His death is a great loss to humanity. At the same time his life and work remain a source of inspiration in the onward march of humanity for freedom and liberty.
AIIEA expresses its profound grief at the demise of this legendary leader and extends its heartfelt condolences to the people of South Africa.
(K. Venu Gopal)
All India Insurance Employees’ Association