Photo of Nelson Mandela As a long-time leader of his people's struggle for freedom and now as the first democratically elected president of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela points the way to a South Africa free from hunger and to a renaissance for the entire African continent.
President Mandela has few equals as an example of persistence and determination, in Africa and elsewhere in the world. he spent his entire adult life mobilizing his people against apartheid and remained undeterred by 27 years of imprisonment. His triumphant emergence from prison in 1990 provided an inspiration throughout Africa and the world.
After leading his people to political liberation, President Mandela is now directing a more challenging struggle: for freedom from hunger, poverty and the legacy of social oppression. As president, he is pressing for a more equitable distribution of farmland, both to right social injustices and to provide rural Africans with the means to grown more food and conquer hunger. He is promoting agricultural development, universal health care and the empowerment of women as central planks of his government's economic and social strategy.
"The right to vote, without food, shelter and health care, will create the appearance of equality and justice, while actual inequality is entrenched," Nelson Mandela has said. "We do not want freedom without bread, nor bread without freedom."
The eradication of apartheid has not only transformed the prospects for combatting poverty and hunger within South Africa. It has also eliminated a major source of instability throughout Southern Africa. Defense expenditures can now be shifted toward Southern Africa's most pressing development goals, and genuine regional cooperation is on the agenda. With President Mandela at the helm, south Africa's enormous economic resources, advanced technology and skilled personnel can at last contribute to the progress of the entire region.