6 December 2013

He was undoubtedly one of the greatest people in humanity.

Nelson Mandela and the first lady of United States, Michelle Obama, and her daugters, Sasha and Malia. Photo: Getty.

Nelson Mandela and David Beckham. Photo: Getty.

Nelson Mandela and Hillary Clinton. Photo: Getty.
Nelson Mandela and Megawati Soekarnoputri, the fifth President (the first and so far the only woman president) of Indonesia. Photo:
Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Getty
With his ever lasting spirit of freedom, Mandela tirelessly fought for freedom and human rights, eradicating one of the darkest political policies in history. Born with the name Nelson Mandela Rolihahla on July 18, 1918 , he became popular because of his track record as a fighter against racial separation system (apartheid). Nelson Mandela had also served as President of South Africa between 1994 - 1999. On August 5, 1962 , Mandela was arrested and imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort , then on October 25, 1962 , he was sentenced to 5 years in prison and on June 12, 1964. He and a group of other activists were sentenced to life imprisonment. After refusing parole to stop the armed struggle in February 1985, Nelson stay in jail until released on February 11, 1990 on the orders of the white president of South Africa, Frederik Willem de Klerk. Frederik is also known as the leader who brought an end to the era of apartheid. Three years later, Nelson and Frederik awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  
It would take years and years to talk about and continue his contribution and his fight for freedom, and yet for Indonesia, there's a little thing he did more than to other countries. The man, familiarly called Madiba, was a global supporter of Batik Indonesia, UNESCO-designated Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In many international occasions (pictures above), he was seen wearing creations of the 'guardian' of batik and a prominent designer of Indonesia, Iwan Tirta.

Iwan Tirta doing mbatik. Photo: Pusaka Iwan Tirta.
His first introduction to batik happened in 1990s, when shortly after the release from prison, he started to visit several countries including Indonesia. He then received Iwan Tirta's batik as a gift, and the support to batik went on. It later became a signature, with name of Madiba shirt, and furthermore inspired designer Chris Vogelpoel to create a label named 46664 Fashion, taken from the number of jail Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

Now, the man who once said that the day he met Spice Girls was the best day in his life, the man with bravery of an army, wisdom of a monk, and heart of a mother, is no longer there, but his legacy keeps on inspiring all, beyond distance, beyond time.

Madiba, your spirit carries on...