Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918)

Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela was born July 18, 1918, near Umtata in Transkei, on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, into the royal family of the Thembu. After his father, the principal councilor to the Acting Paramount Chief of Thembuland, died in 1927, young Rolihlahla became the Chief's foster son, and was groomed to become a ruling member of the tribe.

From an early age, Mandela learned the grim reality of apartheid, South Africa's system of segregation and oppression. The injustices he witnessed and cases that were presented before the Chief's court had a profound effect on the young man, who decided to become a lawyer. He entered Fort Hare University, from which he was expelled in 1940 for leading a strike with friend Oliver Tambo. He moved to Johannesburg, where he finished his degree by correspondence. He eventually obtained his law degree from the University of South Africa, and entered the arena of politics by joining the African National Congress (ANC), a black nationalist movement, in 1942. the beginning of change

In 1944, Mandela, along with Tambo, helped form the ANC Youth League, which called for radical African Nationalism grounded in the principle of national self-determination. In 1947, Mandela was elected to the Secretaryship of the Youth League, which came to dominate the ANC by 1948.

Discrimination against the majority black South African population was written into law following the victory of the National Party, whose membership was dominated by the white settlers of Dutch descent known as Afrikaners, in the 1948 election.

In 1949, Mandela was elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC, and named President of the Youth League the following year.

In 1952, Mandela traveled throughout South Africa recruiting volunteers for a major civil-disobedience campaign. He was arrested and convicted for organizing the campaign, and was confined to Johannesburg for six months. During this time he passed his bar exam, and soon founded South Africa's first black law partnership with Tambo. Mandela was also the brains behind the "M-Plan" (named for him), which organized the ANC members into a nationwide underground network. Throughout the 1950s, Mandela was the victim of many forms of repression. He was banned, arrested and imprisoned.

From 1956 to 1961, he was one of the accused in the Treason Trial, which came at a huge cost to his legal practice and his political work. Following the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, the ANC was outlawed. Mandela was acquitted in 1961, after which he went underground and formed the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (The Spear of the Nation). He became the unit's commander-in-chief. 

In 1962, Mandela left the country unlawfully and traveled abroad for several months. Upon his return, he was charged with illegal exit from the country and incitement to strike, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison with hard labor.

In 1963, several leaders of the ANC and the Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested, and Mandela was brought to stand trial with them for plotting to overthrow the government with violence. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused ANC leaders, including Mandela, were sentenced to life in prison. years of imprisonment Mandela was sent to the notorious Robben Island Prison, a maximum security jail near Cape Town. His reputation grew during his years of imprisonment as he became viewed as South Africa's most significant black leader, as well as a symbol for equal rights, justice and resistance against apartheid. While in prison, Mandela refused to compromise his political beliefs in order to obtain his freedom. He stated that "only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts."

Later, mostly in the 1980s, MK, the organisation co-founded by Mandela, waged a guerrilla war against the apartheid government in which many civilians became casualties. For example, the Church Street bomb in Pretoria killed 19 people and injured 217. After he had become President, Mandela later admitted that the ANC, in its struggle against apartheid, also violated human rights, criticising those in his own party who attempted to remove statements mentioning this from the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In April 1982, Mandela was moved to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland.

In December 1988, he was transferred to Victor Verster Prison, from where he was eventually released in February 1990, after nearly 27 years of incarceration. Following his release, Mandela wasted no time resuming his life's work: the dismantling of the vicious system of apartheid. After being banned for decades, the first national conference of the ANC was held inside South Africa in 1991. Mandela was elected president of the ANC, while lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the organization's national chairperson. Mandela played a key role in the negotiations that would end apartheid in his country.

In 1993, he and South African President F.W. de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Mandela accepted the honor on behalf of all South Africans who suffered and sacrificed so much through the years in order to bring peace to the land. making history

In May 1994, at the age of 75, Mandela won the first all-race election in South Africa. He became the first elected black president of his country, effectively putting an end to the apartheid regime.
On December 10, 1996, Mandela signed the country's new constitution, which included extensive human rights and anti-discrimination guarantees. Mandela stepped down as president in June 1999.

Taken from: [18.07.2012]


  1. Thank you. All of this information really helped me with my history project. Could you also do one on Rosa Parks? I am doing another one for extra credit. Thank you, once again

    1. Your welcome I worked really hard on this, and I am very glad I could help you with your project. I will work on making another one for Rosa Parks and it will be up in a couple of days. :)

  2. You don't mention any of the following either:
    The trial began in December 1963 and the verdicts were rendered in July 1964. The trial outlines the conspiracy to violently overthrow the South African government.

    It proves how the revolutionaries planned and implemented campaigns of sabotage, intimidation, torture, guerrilla warfare, violence, disruption of transportation and communications, insurrection and revolution against the government with the assistance of the Communists and other radicals. They planned to manufacture or purchase explosives such as 48,000 land mines each containing 5 pounds of dynamite, 210,000 hand grenades each containing 1/4 pd of dynamite as well as petrol bombs,syringe bombs, thermite bombs, 1,500 timing devices for bombs, as well as molotov cocktails.

    Their requirements included 144 tons of ammonium nitrate,21.6 tons of aluminum powder and 15 tons of black powder. They prepared for a nucleus army of 7,000 soldiers. Many to be trained abroad in Communist countries. The campaign was based on the model of successes previously achieved in Algeria and Cuba. More than ten documents written in Nelson Mandella's handwriting were submitted as evidence. They contained notes on basic and advanced military training and warfare as well as Communist doctrine. Although Mandella denied being a Communist he admitted that the aims and objectives of the ANC and Communist Party were identical. He even spoke of retaliation against non supportive blacks such as murder and cutting off their noses.

    So what is the legacy left by Mandela? Corruption in unimaginalbe proportians. Murdering of Citizens in un presidented numbers. Raping of woman with broken beer bottles. Murding of white farmers. White males unable to find employment because of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment). All government contracts awarded to Black owned businesses. Investor pulling out due to new laws that if they employee 50 people or more they HAVE TO transfer 50% of their business to their black employees, or if you employ less than 50 (say just 2 people) and you have a sales turnover of 1 million $ per annum you also have to turn over 50 % of your business. Hosptials are disgusting, no beds, no meds, no staff, all equipment stolen. Education system detoriating – no books, no tools and shortage of teachers. Gasoline costs out of proption. Country’s electricty infrastructure collapsing, due to lack of maintenance and not being able to keep up with demands. Eskom has the country on load shedding- blackouts! Billions of SA tax payers funds missing/stolen. Property taxes, food prices and staples to survive all rocketing in costs. Rioting, strikes and destruction of business by black employees demanding more, yet burning business putting them totally out of work. The only thing gained was one man one vote, and even that is not freedom as ANC and EFF plus other communist parites threaten citizens with this lives if they don't vote for them. Rot in Hell Mandela .. you go the golden goose, but you stuffed it! Leaving behind a hell for citizens!

    1. Hello Susan
      I think there are two different Mandelas we need to speak about. The one that did all the above as you mention to fight for freedom of his people. He was taken to jail because he wanted to overthrow a government. That was the old Mandela and he knew it was wrong. He learned from that and came out as a man full of forgiveness. If he was the same man he was when he went to jail, there would have been chaos in SA. Most of the current problems as you mentioned with the taxation and teh state of hospitals are because of mismanagement and corruption of the leaders after Mandela. I can assure you that Mandela would have none of this if he was still alive. Unfortunately we didn't have more Mandelas to take over and become president. This country would have been so much better.