A few nights ago, we had dinner with some other missionary couples at the Nelson Mandela Square where there is a large statue of there of Mandela as well as some billboards and other commemorations. Most people know that Mandela was a famous South African activist who was key to bringing an end to apartheid and also an advocate for human rights throughout the world. After witnessing years of inequality and oppression, he became a member of the African National Congress party in the 1940s. He led both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime. His leadership was seen as a threat and resulted in imprisonment for twenty seven years. Even in prison, his influence continued and he became the face of the antiapartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Due to world pressure, he was finally released in 1990 and helped orchestrate the eradication of apartheid. After a life of hardship, he became the first black president of South Africa in 1994 and helped his country transition to a free society. Due to ill health that resulted from his years of confinement, he retiring from politics in 1999, but remained a devoted champion social justice around the world. He died in 2013 at the age of 95. When you drive through Johannesburg, you can see the evidence of the love and appreciation that his country has for him in signs and banners and by the frequency with which his name is used, such as on Mandela Square.