December 5, 2013 - 10:31pm
BY MATTHEW JACKONEN
Nelson Mandela, an esteemed advocate for racial equality and prominent political leader who guided South Africa out of apartheid, died quietly at his home in Johannesburg at age 95 Thursday night.
Mandela fought against racial oppression South Africa, where apartheid, the nation’s legally-enforced segregation, existed for 46 years. The decades-long struggled culminated when Mandela was elected as the nation’s first Black president in 1994. His presidency came four years after his 27-year-long imprisonment, which began in 1962 for his activism against apartheid.
In 1987, the University granted Mandela an honorary degree in absentia while he was imprisoned. Because of his absence, members of the University’s Board of Regents were hesitant to award him the degree due to a bylaw stating any recipient of an honorary degree must be present during the commencement ceremony.
Art & Design Associate Prof. David Turnley, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer, wrote an op-ed in Time magazine Thursday night about his experience witnessing Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and his photography of the event.
“Adrenaline surged — suddenly the prison gate opened, and marching towards us is Nelson Mandela, fist in the air, holding Winnie’s hand, as roars sound around the world,” Turnley wrote. “I had time to make three frames in focus — the happiest three frames of my life — before the crowd breaks and Mandela’s motorcade heads towards the center of Capetown.”
Turnley’s photos of Nelson Mandela are widely considered some of the most iconic images from the civil rights leader’s life. Turnley’s latest photography book, “Mandela: In Times of Struggle and Triumph,” published in 2009, is an anthology of his extensive 28-year work in South Africa.