On May 10th, 1994 (I was still in secondary school!) Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president after more than three centuries of white minority rule and the country’s first ever democratic elections. It was the culmination of a long journey from lawyer to co-founder of the ANC’s armed wing to political prisoner to symbol of the fight against apartheid and ultimately President.
Speaking at his inauguration, Mandela stressed reconciliation and forgiveness, stating: “We saw our country tear itself apart in terrible conflict... The time for healing of wounds has come... Never, never again will this beautiful land experience the oppression of one by another.”