Nelson Mandela will always be remembered for his fight against oppression and his inspired leadership of South Africa after the end of apartheid. As part of that leadership, Mandela challenged his government and the world to improve social equity by ensuring access to clean water no matter a person’s income or societal status. He called improvements to South Africa’s access to potable water one of the “most important achievements of democracy in our country” in his speech, “No Water, No Future.” An estimated 768 million people do not have access to improved water globally, many in sub-Saharan Africa, but more than 91 percent of South Africans had improved access to better water as of 2011 (WHO/UNICEF, 2013).
Read more about Mandela’s leadership at the U.N. Environment Programme.