in brief: Nelson Mandela dies aged 95
The world has begun mourning for humanitarian and former South African president, Nelson Mandela who has died aged 95.
Spending 27 years in prison fighting for the rights of the African people, Mandela is best known for his anti-apartheid activism and eventually becoming the first Indigenous president of his homeland.
Despite the world upholding the triumphs of the former political prisoner and his African National Congress party (including policies admitting 1.5 million children to the education system and 3 million people being housed), the humble Mandela was honest about where he saw his own failings.
At the end of the Mandela presidency, 10% of the South African population were reported to by HIV positive, an issue the leader admitted to leaving as a legacy for his successors.
However, Mandela was undoubtedly dedicated to all his citizens and achieved numerous steps forward for South African women of every colour and creed.
‘As long as women are bound by poverty and as long as they are looked down upon, human rights will lack substance,’ Mandela said in his 1996 International Women’s Day address.
The South African president implored more women to be represented in that state’s government.
Pregnant South African women were allocated free health care in 1994, the first year of Mandela’s presidency.
In 1995 Mandela ratified the United Nations’ Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, with even the United States of America yet to proceed with this step.
The Mandela government also saw the South African constitution adopted in 1997, which included clauses prohibiting discrimination on gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion and more.
This constitution further affirmed the rights of women to reproductive autonomy and physical integrity.
Madiba, as Mandela was known to his people, also denounced rape culture and condemned victim blaming.
Mandela’s presidency lasted only 1994-1999, but his prior struggles and successive humanitarian work have shaped the world.