Mandela: His Essential Life, written by Peter Hain, takes you on a journey through the great Nelson Mandela’s extravagant life story, all the problems he faced and how overcame them. Nelson Mandela to this day is known as one of the few people who promoted forgiveness and equality after being mistreated himself. He was a nonviolence activist, politician, and philanthropist who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. In 1993, Mandela and South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk together was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize. Even after his tragic death, Mandela continues to be an inspiration to civil rights activists worldwide.
Nelson Mandela born as Rolihlahla grew up as a happy rural boy. He was born on July 18, 1918, in Umtata, South Africa, he grew up with many brothers and sisters as cousins were considered siblings at the time. His father was Chief Gadla Henry Mphakayisa and his mother Nosekeni Fanny, with his father out of the house a lot, as a child Mandela grew up under the influence of family, friends, and his South African culture. At the young age of nine Nelson’s father passed away, he was later adopted and taken under the wing of Jongintaba Dalindyebo, who started preparing Nelson for a role within leadership. Nelson was the first in his family to receive a formal education, he attended a local missionary school, where he was dubbed Nelson by his teacher. He later went on to attend the Clarkebury Boarding Institute and Healdtown, a Methodist secondary school, where he excelled in boxing and track as well as academic. In 1939, Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, the only center of higher learning for blacks in South Africa at the time. In his second year at Fort Hare, Mandela was elected to the Student Representative Council. For some time, students had been unhappy with the food and lack of power held by the SRC. During this election, a majority of students wanted to boycott unless their demands were met, overturn by the student majority, Mandela resigned from his position. Seeing this happen the university’s Dr. Kerr expelled Mandela, only allowing him back if we’re to return too SRC.
The police captured Mandela on 5th August 1962. The following year, he and his friends were charged with sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government in what is known as the Rivonia Trial. During the trial, Mandela gave his famous three-hour long “I Am Prepared to Die” speech, considered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and a key moment in the anti-apartheid struggle. In 1963, the South African government found Mandela guilty of sabotage. He was sentenced for 27 years in prison. The most important character traits of Nelson Mandela are the strength of spirit, integrity, honor, and leadership. Mandela’s strength of spirit helped him survive 27 years of imprisonment. He was a man of peace, he defeated enemies with the power of a smile rather than his fists. Growing up Mandela was nothing but the same, he learned to move on from unfair situations and with these traits, he showed the world what forgiveness looked like. Mandela changed and influenced the world with the power of his great words, all of these things contributed too how famous he is now. In 1989, F.W. de Klerk became South African president and set about getting rid of apartheid. Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and in February 1990 ordered the release of Nelson Mandela. With his peaceful fight of freedom, Mandela was eventually released from prison.
After his release from prison, Nelson continued to be a non-violence activist. The majority of black South Africans felt that only Mandela can lead them, even when he was in exile. The overwhelming consensus was that if Mandela were released and ran for office, he would no doubt be the light to lead them out of the entrenched darkness of the apartheid. After a series of tense negotiations between the ANC and de Klerk’s administration, a date was set for the first ever democratic election. On April 27, 1994, Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his life. His party won by a large wide margin, but not so wide that it would worry white
To this day Nelson Mandela is and always will be considered one of the greatest activists in the world. His traits inspired people all over the world to fight with peace. Even after going through hurt himself, he continued to be a peaceful and happy person. Even after his death in 2013, the world continued to mourn, respect, and appreciate Nelson Mandela.
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