House of Representatives Passes Resolution Honoring Mandela’s Life, Accomplishments, and Legacy

Dec 12, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Res. 434, a bipartisan resolution honoring the life, accomplishments and legacy of Nelson Mandela and expressing condolences on his passing. 

The resolution notes that during his 27 years of imprisonment, “Mandela remained resolute, refusing offers to renounce his struggle against oppression in exchange for his freedom, and became widely viewed and respected as a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement.” 

H.Res. 434 was introduced earlier this week by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, along with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member; Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee; and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).  The co-sponsors issued the following statements:

Subcommittee Ranking Member Bass said:  "President Mandela was so much more than the first fully democratically elected president of South Africa.  He was a global leader who taught the world the meaning of social justice, and he was a teacher who showed the world the power of compassion and reconciliation. He turned the injustice of 27 years in prison and the unforgiving brutality of apartheid into healing for his South Africa."

Chairman Royce said:  “The world has lost a courageous and generous man in Nelson Mandela.  He was indeed one of democracy’s strongest champions.  His vision and lack of vindictiveness was amazing, and brought South Africans through a very difficult transition, which could have gone in a very different, violent direction.  Most impressively, he elected to serve a single presidential term, turning over power he surely could have kept.  His message of reconciliation must endure and be a model for the African continent, and quite frankly, the world.  This Resolution is a tribute to a man whose life bettered the world.”

Ranking Member Engel said: “Nelson Mandela was a truly extraordinary person who remained committed to his ideals through the decades of hardship and sacrifice it took to make them a reality.  I was honored to have met him and hear his unwavering message of forgiveness and reconciliation in South Africa and the world.  He is a man who will never be forgotten and will remain an inspiration for generations to come.”

Subcommittee Chairman Smith said:  “It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela. President Mandela waged a long and arduous struggle to end the racist policy of apartheid. In prison for 27 years, he chose the path of truth and reconciliation over violence and famously said that ‘as I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.’" 

CBC Chairwoman Fudge said:  Nelson Mandela was an extraordinary human being, a man who dedicated his entire life to the liberation of all South Africans and who united voices for freedom in every corner of the world. With incomparable courage, President Mandela overcame violent persecution for his belief that every individual deserved to live in a society where injustice would not be tolerated. Through his work and sacrifices, President Mandela taught us that we are greater together than the prejudices that divide us, and that the fight for peace, equality and justice can be won. It is an honor to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan resolution in recognition of Mr. Mandela’s life and his contributions to our world.”

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