Literally millions of people on each continent throughout the world paused on July 18, 2011 to recognize and to celebrate the birthday of the living legend, Nelson Mandela.
As an African American, I personally joined the ranks of the African National Congress (ANC) more than 40 years ago while I was a younger Black community activist and organizer for the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice.
Today at the wisdom age of 93, Nelson Mandela still stands tall as a living symbol of the triumph of the long protracted struggle of humanity for freedom, justice and equality.
We celebrate the birth and continuing leadership of one of the world's greatest freedom fighters. Nelson Mandela is a father, grandfather and a serious family man. Even during his long unjust imprisonment for over 27 years, he never lost his sense of perspective about the importance of his family and the leadership of the ANC investing the spirit and ideology of the freedom struggle in the youth of South Africa.
The youth of the ANC, who later would rise up in such an irrepressible unity and focus that caused even the rigid foundations of apartheid to collapse and fall. Mandela embodies what it means to be an African transformation visionary who not only fought hard and long to free South Africa from the ruthless apartheid regime, but also who became the first Black President of South Africa with a universal sense of global dignity, integrity and respect.