Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson told Newsmax on Thursday that former South African President Nelson Mandela was "a man who won the Nobel Peace Prize who really truly advocated for peace.
"He refused to be president for more than five years," Carson, who retired in June from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in an exclusive interview. "He didn’t ascribe to the notion that you should be the monarch forever. That tells you that he had very pure motives."
Mandela, who received the Nobel Prize in 1993 with South African President F.W. de Klerk for ending nearly five decades of apartheid in the country, died on Thursday at the age of 95.
He spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid efforts before being released in 1990.
Mandela was South Africa's first black president, elected in 1994 in the country's first fully represented multiracial election. Before stepping down in 1999, he promulgated a new, non-discriminatory Constitution. It took effect in 1997.
"The people were so desirous of wanting him to be their leader — and because they didn't know where else to turn, he was willing to do it, even though that wasn't his preference," Carson told Newsmax. "He certainly didn't want to be cemented into that position, and once things were stabilized, he insisted upon leaving and upon having democratic elections.
"That shows that he truly was someone who was looking out for the interests of the people and not just trying to enhance his own position, which seems kind of strange to us in the United States to have politicians like that."
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