Nelson Mandela passes away

The world feels that little darker, as a light is extinguished: Nelson Mandela has passed away. A strange way to put this sad piece of news is that this is another end of the twentieth century.

Mr Mandela had struggled against apartheid, led South Africa in the post-apartheid era, and in doing so moulded a new country. Apartheid was a grotesque system of the twentieth century, and its end was one of the better and euphoric moments of the century. Individuals matter in history, and we tend to think in terms of decades and centuries: Mr Mandela was a great individual who changed the course of history, and has given shape to that turbulent century. I do not think a history of the twentieth century could be written without reference to Mr Mandela.

Over the next few weeks and months, his life and achievements will be remembered and retold. South Africa still has many problems and issues, yet it is arguable that a good foundation has been laid, and that is Mr Mandela’s legacy: it is up to the current and next generations to make sure that this legacy is not squandered, but be built on, which is the best way to remember Mr Mandela. And he will remain an inspiration for many in the future, for a long time to come, across the globe.