Biography of Nelson Mandela -

Biography of Nelson Mandela

Biography of Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was a South African political activist who spent more than 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid government and was released in the year 1990. He was released in 1994. Mandela got elected as the first president of an independent South Africa. Mandela was given the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with F.W. de Klerk) in 1993 because of his efforts in helping end racial discrimination within South Africa. He is widely regarded as the founder of democracy in South Africa and widely admired for his capacity to unite an entire nation that was previously split by Apartheid. Nelson Mandela is one of the most popular and influential political figures during the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries for his vision to forgive and build a new nation of ‘rainbow.

“I discovered that courage is more than just the lack of fear but victory over it. The brave person is not the one who isn’t scared, but rather he can overcome fear.”

Short Bio of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on the 18th of July 1918. Nelson Mandela is the son of a chief of the tribe, Tembu. tribe. As a child, Nelson took part in the ceremonies of initiation and celebrations of his tribe. However, unlike his father, Nelson Mandela gained a full education, attending the University College of Fort Hare and in the University of Witwatersrand. Nelson was an excellent student and earned a law degree in 1942.

While studying at University, Nelson Mandela became more aware of the racial disparity and the injustices that non-whites face. He opted to sign up with the ANC and take an active part in the fight against apartheid.

Being one of the few legal professionals with the right qualifications, Nelson Mandela was in huge demand. His dedication to the cause saw him rise through the members of the ANC. When he has arrested in 1956 Nelson Mandela, along with others from the ANC was detained and charged with Treason. After a long and lengthy trial and trial, the defendants were released in the year 1961. But, with the ANC being outlawed, Nelson Mandela suggested an active and armed opposition against the apartheid regime. That led to the creation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, which could be an armed guerilla movement. The training was received in different African countries and countries, the Umkhonto we Sizwe took part in active sabotage.

The year 1963 was the time that Mandela had been detained and tried for Treason. The State prevailed in the conviction of Mandela of conspiring to overthrow the regime. However, the trial received an immense amount of attention from the world and the apartheid government that ruled South Africa became under scrutiny by the global community. After Mandela’s trial Nelson Mandela made a lengthy speech in which he managed to be adamant about his belief in democratic ideals.

“We think in the notion that South Africa belongs to all the people that live within it, not just to one particular group, whether white or black. We never wanted to see an interracial conflict, and we attempted to keep it out until the very last moment.”


Biography of Nelson Mandela

Final remark during the trial of 1964

“During my life, I’ve been devoted to the fight for the African people. My fight against racism and white supremacy and black dominance. I have always believed in the idea of a free, democratic society in which all citizens are in harmony with equal opportunity. It’s an ideal I would like to live and strive to attain. If it is not this is the ideal that I am willing to sacrifice my life.”

Time in Prison

Mandela-prison-roomMandela’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and from 1964 -1981 he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town. The prison conditions were a bit spartan, but Mandela was a part of a large group of political prisoners and there were strong bonds of friendship that helped make the tough prison conditions. In the prison, Nelson Mandela was highly disciplined. He would strive to study and engage in daily exercise. Mandela later stated that the years of prison were an excellent learning experience although it was difficult. Mandela also made friends with guards. Mandela would later admit that he believed he was fighting apartheid rather than individual white people. In prison, Mandela began to realize the enthusiasm that Afrikaners have for rugby and he began to develop an interest in the sport himself.

In the prison system, Mandela became increasingly well-recognized throughout the world. Mandela became the most famous black leader and was the symbol of the fight against the apartheid government. It was not widely known to Mandela his imprisonment for a long time resulted in a worldwide demand to release him. Many countries introduced sanctions against apartheid South Africa. In response to pressure from the international community beginning in the mid-1980s, the apartheid system began to bargain along with ANC as well as Nelson Mandela in particular. Many times, Mandela was offered limited freedom. But, he refused to put the ideals of the political party of the ANC over his freedom.

Freedom and a new Rainbow Nation

Finally, Nelson Mandela was released on February 11 on the 11th of February, 1990. The day was an important occasion for South Africa and the world. His release is symbolic of the imminent end of apartheid. After his release, there were long-running negotiations to find an agreement that would last. Negotiations were often heated in the context of violence among tribal members. In April 1994 South Africa had its first fair and full elections. The ANC who received 60% of the votes was elected. Nelson Mandela became the first president of the new South Africa.

“The moment to heal of wounds is now. The time to cross the gaps that separate us has arrived. The moment to build is upon us.”

– Nelson Mandela

As President, he aimed to repair the wounds from the past. Despite being a victim and abused, he was gracious in dealing with his ex-convicts. His tolerant and forgiving attitude earned him the respect of the entire South African nation and considerably made it easier to transition to a fully democratic society.

“If there are fantasies about the beauty of South Africa, there are other roads that take them to the destination. Two of them could be referred to as forgiveness and goodness.”

– Nelson Mandela

In 1995 in 1995, the 1995 Rugby World Cup was held in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was instrumental in inspiring African black South Africans to support the “Springboks.” The Springboks were once criticized as the symbol of supremacy by whites. Mandela stunned many when he met his Springbok captain Francois Pienaar before World Cup to wish the team well. Following an epic final during which South Africa beat New Zealand, Mandela, wearing a Springbok jersey handed over an award to the winner of the South Africa team. De Klerk later stated Mandela was able to win the hearts of one million white rugby supporters.

Nelson Mandela also oversaw the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in which the past crimes of apartheid were uncovered, while focusing on forgiveness for each individual and helping the country take a step forward. The Committee was headed by Desmond Tutu, and Mandela later praised the work of the Committee.

Nelson Mandela retired from the Presidency in 1999, only to succeed Thabo Mbeki. In his later years, his declining health restricted his activities in public. But, he did publicly address specific topics. He was extremely opposed to America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. In a Newsweek interview, in 2002, when he voiced his displeasure at American actions. He said:

“I was hoping to retire, to rest as well as spend time more with my kids and my grandchildren, and, of course, my wife. However, the issues are so complex that for anyone with a conscience, who can make use of whatever influence he might be able to exert to achieve peace, it’s hard to say”no.” (10 September 2002)

He also has campaigned to draw attention to the issue of HIV and AIDS and AIDS in South Africa.

Mandela had three marriages, six children as well as 17 grandkids. He was first married to Evelyn Ntoko Mase. The second woman he married was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. They divorced due to a bitter disagreement. Winnie was accused of having been involved in human rights violations. Mandela got married for the third time on his day with Graca Machel.

Nelson Mandela was often referred to as Madiba – – his Xhosa Clan name.

Nelson Mandela died on 5 December 2013 after a lengthy illness along with family members by his side. He was 95.

At his funeral, Barack Obama, the US President, said: the US stated:

“We are unlikely to have the same kind of leadership as Nelson Mandela ever again, therefore it is our responsibility to try, as best as we are able, to continue the model Mandela set. Mandela no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the past.”

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