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Rome Reports

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100-year anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth

Mandela had great admiration for John Paul II, whom he called “brother” during a papal visit to South Africa. 

On June 18, 2018, Nelson Mandela would've turned 100. One of the most notable 20th century figures, Mandela was a symbol of freedom that, despite being sentenced to life in prison for treason, never engaged in hateful speech. Instead, he fought racism in a non-violent way. 

This fight against apartheid cost him 27 years of life, as he remained in prison until the age of 71 in 1990. Four years later, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. 

Mandela was widely recognized for his peaceful protest and his example, from awards in Great Britain, Spain or the U.S., to the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. 

John Paul II greatly admired Mandela. They first met in 1990 during a papal trip to South Africa. Mandela welcomed him at the airport and called him “my brother.”

Mandela died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95, leaving behind a legacy of wisdom forged in peaceful fight and behind the bars of a prison where he showed, in his own words, that courage isn't the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.