My first awareness of Nelson Mandela came at the hands of some pretty amazing musicians and artists who'd taken up the cause of speaking up for him and others like Dr. Stephen Biko.
Bands and musicians like The Specials (Free Nelson Mandela), U2, Simple Minds, Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats), Midge Ure (Ultravox), Paul McCartney, Elton John and many others (forgive me for not having the space here to mention everyone) had taken up the voices of these individuals who were political prisoners without voice to the rest of the world.
He united people in the cause of freedom for political prisoners and the many lost voices of the Apartheid era and united a movement that gave voice to political prisoners everywhere.
December 10 is Amnesty International's Write For Rights day. You can participate by clicking the link and signing up where you will take up the same cause that helped get people like Nelson Mandela their freedom from political imprisonment.
You don't have to be a perfect angel to take part (I'm far from that but thankfully a bit farther from being a devil). The point is that your voice counts.
This cause has helped to obtain freedom for many people recently including Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, Dr. Tarek Loubani and filmmaker John Greyson.
Thank you Nelson Mandela for the legacy you have left us with and may you rest in peace.
Brian Joseph Johns