Nelson Mandela

By: Aviyona Artis

Born Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

About Mr. Mandela

Born: Mvezo, South Africa on July 18, 1918

Died: December 5, 2013

Spouse: Graça Machel (m. 1998–2013), Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (m. 1958–1996), Evelyn Mase (m. 1944–1958)

Children: Makaziwe Mandela, Zenani Mandela, Makgatho Mandela,Madiba Thembekile Mandela, Zindziswa Mandela, Malengani Machel,Josina Z. Machel

Awards: Nobel Peace Prize, Bharat Ratna, World Citizenship Award, Sakharov Prize and many many more.


- “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela

- "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

- "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination." - Nelson Mandela

Early Life

Nelson Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, on July 18, 1918. To his parents Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphkanyiswa Gadla Mandela, the principal counsellor to the Acting King of the Thembu people. Nelson's father died when he was very young. Nelson then became a ward Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni. Listening to his elders tell stories about his ancestor's bravery during the wars of resistance, he also dreamed of making his own contribution to the struggle of freedom of his people.

Nelson attended a primary school in Qunu where his teacher have him his new name Nelson, which he is known as today. His teacher Miss Mdingane gave him this new name in accordance with the custom to give all of the children "Christian" names. Nelson completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went to Healdtown. Which was a Wesleyan secondary school.

More about his education

Mr. Mandela started his studies for a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University College of Fort Hare but he didn't complete this degree there because he was expelled for joining a student protest. He ended up completing his BA through the University of South Africa and went back to Fort Hare for graduation in 1943.

Nelson began studying for an LLB at at the University of the Witwatersrand. By his own admission he was a very poor student and left the university in 1948 and did not graduate.

- In 1989, his last months of imprisonment, he got a LLb through the University of South Africa

- Joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped formed the ANC Youth League

- 1952, chosen at the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign

Trouble with the law

Nelson Mandela was arrested in a countrywide police swoop on December 5, 1955 which led to the 1956 Treason Trial. Women and man of all races were in the dock in the marathon trial that ended only when the last 28 accused.

On March 21, 1960 police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest at Sharpeville against the pass laws. This led to the country's first state of emergency on March 31. Nelson Mandela and his colleagues were some of the thousands detained during the state of emergency. As soon as they were released in the Treason Trial Nelson went underground and began planning a national strike for the 20th, 30th, and 31st of March.

On January 11, 1962 Nelson Mandela adopted the name David Motsamayi, and left South Africa secretly. He traveled through Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received training from the Military in Morocco and Ethiopia. He later returned to South Africa in July of 1962. Mr. Mandela was arrested in a police roadblock on August 5th while returning from KwaZulu-Natal. He was charged with leaving the country illegally. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail which he began serving in the Pretoria Local Prison. Within a month police raided a secret hide-out in Rivonia used by ANC and Communist Party activists, several people were arrested.

Later in the Years

- In 1988 Nelson Mandela was treated for Tuberculosis and transfered on December 7, 1988 to a house at Victor Verster Prison.

-He was released on Sunday February 11, 1990.

-Throughout his imprisonment he rejected at lease three conditional offers of release

- May 10, 1994 Nelson was elected as South Africa's first democratically President.

- Keeping his promise, Mr. Mandela stepped down from his presidency in 1999

Nelson Mandela never quivered in his devotion to democracy, learning, and equality. Despite horrible pressure, he never once answered to racism with racism. His life long journey has been an inspiration to all people who were underprivileged, and oppressed.


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