Opinion: Mandela should be known

By Aalia Malik — Nelson Mandela. We have all heard his name. But do you really know who he is?

When someone hears a name like Nelson Mandela, there should be instant recognition. But many youth do not know who he is. This is the big problem in our society today. It is very important that this generation knows who significant people, like Nelson Mandela, are.

“I don’t think most people our age know who he is, unless they pay attention to history but usually they probably don’t. I think many people do not care and they are not interested,” senior Emily Weiss said.

Nelson Mandela had some very big achievements in his lifetime while trying to create social justice in South Africa. Social injustice is a problem all around the world. Relatively few people spend their lives trying to fight it for the betterment of future generations. Mandela should be remembered for the life he spent calling for change.

The event that tends to stick out to many is that Mandela spent over 27 years in prison after refusing a pardon from the president at that time. All he had to do to be freed early from his life sentence was renounce violence. So why did he refuse? Because he was willing to continue to fight for what he believed was the right thing to do. He said he would only agree if the government dismantles the apartheid first. He then went on to help end the apartheid and become the first African American president of South Africa.

These events and more are precisely what made Mandela such an inspiration. Everyone should know what one person can do to make a change they believe in. He is not just another person in history. He has been making changes in our lifetime too. There are few of this significant people we can say were alive while we were.

Some celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have become household names. Yet so many people do not even know one thing Mandela has done. Nelson Mandela should be a household name. His achievements and changes should be what are talked about, not just the latest celebrity scandal. People continuously read about world, like Mandela. Even taking a small amount of time to learn about people like Mandela will be beneficial.

Celebrities both in magazines and the entertainment news. Instead, they should be reading about people who have made a real change and significant impact around the world.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]