Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Feminists observe with sadness the passing of Nelson Mandela, first Black President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.  He was not entirely successful in his goal of “a society free of all kinds of discrimination, more especially discrimination against women,” but he did preside over South Africa at a time when the nation signed “the U.N Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), often referred to as an international bill of rights for women, in 1993, and ratified it in 1995, something the United States has yet to do.”

Many of us have reflected on the words and actions of Nelson Mandela in writing our philosophical work, so I close with his words: “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression… Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child.”

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