A Man Named Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela committed his life to fight racial injustice in his country of South Africa. Mandela’s passion for justice led him to become an anti-apartheid activist, a politician and the first black president of South Africa. In his 20’s Mandela joined and later led the African National Congress.

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For many years he campaigned for nonviolent and peaceful resistance to the South African government. His fight against the National Party of South Africa caused Mandela to spend 27 years in prison. In 1993 Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for the years of effort he devoted to ending apartheid. Even though Nelson Mandela is best known for his work for peace and humanity, it wasn’t until he accepted acts of violence that he was able to bring positive change to his country.

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18th, 1918, in a small village called Mvezo, by the river in Transkei, South Africa. As an infant Mandela’s family was forced to move Qunu after his father, who was a counselor to tribal chiefs, lost his fortune and his title to the colonial magistrate. Qunu was a small town with no roads, said by Biography.com, where people lived in huts and ate local harvest. This is where Mandela would be baptized in the Methodist church. Mandela also became the first person to attend school in his family. At the age of nine, Mandela’s father died of lung disease and his life took a dramatic turn. Nelson was adopted by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. After being adopted he moved to Mqhelezezweniz.

Once Nelson moved to Mqhelezezweniz he was given the opportunity for more education. He took classes near the palace where he lived. This is where he learned and became interested in African history. Mandela went to several schools including the Wesleyan mission school, the Clarkebury Boarding Institue and Wesleyan College. In 1939, Mandela attended the prestigious University College of Fort Hare for blacks where he focused on law.

Nelson Mandela married three times during his life and had six children. Nelson Mandela died December 5th, 2013, explained by NelsonMandela.org when he 95 years old. He had been in and out of the hospital several times during 2012 and 2013 after a surgery for a stomach ailment. He died from a recurrent lung infection at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nelson Mandela would show commitment to the civil rights of South African civilians, later in his life. The government in South Africa would segregate people by their race. In 1948 the National Party won and took control of the government, they then made laws that oppressed minorities. This lead Nelson Mandela to try and solve this matter. To help stop the apartheid Mandela would join the African National Congress, said by Nobelprize.org, and create the African National Congress Youth League. In this league, Mandela and some of his friends would lead peaceful protests. These protests would bring many people in their town together, chanting, singing, and yelling. But one fateful day the government fired weapons at the people killing and injuring many. This is when Mandela realized the peaceful protests were not working and the group was going to have to use force. They created a group called Umkhonto we Sizwe to use guerrilla war tactics, to sabotage the South African government. In 1963, Nelson Mandela and 10 other people were arrested for 222 acts of sabotage, said by Pollack and Belviso (61). Their sentence was originally death, but in a turn of events, it was a lifetime sentence. While they served their sentence they were moved to two different prisons, the first prison was Robben Island, which they spent 18 years at and the second prison was Pollsmoor Prison, they spent 9 years in this prison. During their time in prison, the civil rights movement grew. Nelson Mandela became an international symbol, many people even protested for his release. Nelson Mandela was finally pulled out of prison to negotiate with the National Party about the apartheid. These negotiations lead to all 10 of the people arrested, including Mandela, to be released, in 1990. They spent a total of 27 years living in prison.

Even after Nelson Mandela’s release, he still continued to work for civil rights. Nelson even partnered with President Frederick De Klerk to stop the apartheid. This partnership earned both the President and Mandela to earn a Nobel Peace Prize, in 1993. Mandela negotiated for the first democratic election in South Africa, allowing all races to vote. On April 27th, 1994, Nelson Mandela won South Africa’s presidential election. At the age of 77, Nelson Mandela was Inaugurated as South Africa’s president. Frederick De Klerk is appointed as Mandela’s first deputy. Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first black president. Nelson Mandela used the nation’s excitement for rugby, to help restore friendliness between the whites and blacks. During Mandela’s time as president, he would help the economy from collapse, using the Reconstruction and Development Plan. This plan helped fund the creation of jobs, homes being built, and Health Care. Mandela also created a new constitution for South Africa, the new constitution helped establish a strong central government.

In 1999, Nelson Mandela finally retired from politics, as he spent the majority of his life with politics. Mandela still would have a busy life, however, he would raise money to build school and clinics with his foundation. Sadly in 2001, Mandela would be diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer and retiring from his public life. On July 18th, 2007, Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Mandela co-founded The Elders. This group was filled with world leaders, that we’re trying to find solutions for the world’s toughest issues. They had impact through Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. They helped promote peace and helped with women’s equality.

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