Nelson Mandela Biography: Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Nelson Mandela’s government in the country focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by promoting racial reconciliation. Mandela, an African nationalist and socialist, was president of the African National Congress Party from 1991 to 1997.
In 2009, the United Nations officially declared Nelson Mandela International Day to be celebrated on July 18 through a General Assembly resolution. The day celebrates the life and work of Nelson Mandela through volunteering and community service.
Nelson Mandela’s full name is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. He was a black nationalist and the first black president of South Africa. In 1993, he and De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the early 1990s, his negotiations with South African President FW de Klerk helped end the country’s apartheid system of racial segregation and ushered in a peaceful transition to majority rule.
Full name: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Born: July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa
Died: December 5, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Position: President of South Africa (1994-1999)
Political affiliation: African National Congress Umkhonto we Sizwe
Awards and distinctions: Nobel Prize (1993)
Nelson Mandela International Day 2021: theme, history and meaning
Mandela Day or Nelson Mandela International Day
Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated every year on July 18 to remember the South African idol’s contribution to negotiating the end of apartheid. It was the day South Africa’s first black, democratically elected president was born in Transkei, South Africa, in 1918.
July 18 was officially declared Nelson Mandela International Day by the United Nations in 2009 and the day was first celebrated on July 18, 2010.
The day is celebrated on Nelson Mandela’s birthday. It was created to honor his legacy by promoting community service around the world. The first time was celebrated on July 18, 2009 and was primarily sponsored by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the 46664 initiative. Later that year, the United Nations declared that the day would be celebrated every year as International Nelson Mandela Day.
Nelson Mandela: early life and work
He was born on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of the Cape Province of South Africa. He was the son of Chief Henry Mandela of the Madiba clan of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu people.
After his father’s death, he was raised by Jongintaba, the regent of the Tembu. To become a lawyer, he gave up his right to leadership.
He entered the South African Native College (later the University of Fort Hare). He studied law at the University of the Witwatersrand and subsequently passed the qualifying examination to become a lawyer.
He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944, which was a black liberation group. He became leader of his Youth League. That same year he married Evelyn Ntoko Mase.
He secured another leadership position in the ANC, helping to revitalize the organization and oppose the apartheid policies of the ruling National Party.
With ANC leader Oliver Tambo, he established South Africa’s first black law firm in 1952, specializing in cases resulting from post-1948 apartheid legislation.
That same year, he also played a major role in launching a campaign challenging laws passed in South Africa. He required non-whites to carry documents known as passes that authorized their presence in areas the government considered “restricted” reserved primarily for the white population.
He traveled throughout the country and tried to drum up support for non-violent means of protest against discriminatory laws.
He was also involved in drafting the Freedom Charter in 1955. It was a document that called for non-racial social democracy in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela: activism and trial against apartheid
His anti-apartheid activism made him a frequent target of the authorities. Beginning in 1952, he was intermittently banned, meaning he was restricted from travel, association, and expression. He was arrested in December 1956 along with over a hundred others on charges of treason, aimed at harassing anti-apartheid activists.
That same year he was tried and was finally acquitted in 1961. During the lengthy court process, he divorced his first wife and married Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela (Winnie Madikizela-Mandela).
Top 55 Nelson Mandela Quotes to Inspire and Motivate
Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia trial and clandestine activity
In 1960, after the massacre of unarmed black South Africans by police forces in Sharpeville and also the banning of the ANC, Nelson Mandela abandoned his non-violent method and began advocating acts of sabotage against the South African regime.
He went underground and was one of the founders of the ANC military wing called Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”).
He then went to Algeria in 1962 for guerrilla warfare and sabotage training purposes, and returned to South Africa that same year. Shortly after his return, he was detained at a roadblock in Natal on August 5 and sentenced to five years in prison.
Imprisoned Mandela and several other men were tried for sabotage, treason and violent conspiracy in the infamous Rivonia trial in October 1963. It is named after a posh Johannesburg suburb where police raided and discovered quantities of weapons and equipment at headquarters from the underground Umkhonto we Sizwe.
He admitted the truth of some of the charges in the speech given by the doctor and this was done against him. It was a classic defense of freedom and a challenge to tyranny. His speech attracted international attention and was published that same year as I’m Prepared to Die.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 12, 1964, narrowly escaping the death penalty.
Nelson Mandela: imprisonment
He was imprisoned at Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town, from 1964 to 1982. He was held in Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison until 1988. Then, after being treated for tuberculosis, he was transferred to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl.
During his period of imprisonment, he received widespread support from the black population of South Africa and his imprisonment became a cause célèbre among the international community that condemned apartheid.
After 1983, the political situation in South Africa deteriorated and, especially after 1988, he was hired by the president’s ministers. PW Botha’s government in exploratory negotiations. In December 1989 he met with Botha’s successor, De Klerk.
The South African government released Mandela from prison under President De Klerk on 11 February 1990. Shortly after his release, he was elected vice-president of the ANC.
In July 1991 he assumed the presidency of the party. He led the ANC in negotiations with De Klerk to end apartheid and achieve a peaceful transition to non-racial democracy in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela: Presidency
The ANC, led by Nelson Mandela, won South Africa’s first elections in April 1994 by universal suffrage and was sworn in as the country’s first multi-ethnic government president on May 10.
In 1995, he created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which investigated human rights violations during apartheid. He also introduced several initiatives including housing, education and economic development to improve the living standards of the country’s black population.
He oversaw the promulgation of a new democratic constitution in 1996. In December 1997, he resigned from office and transferred leadership of his party to his designated successor, Thabo Mbeki.
In 1996 he divorced Madikizela-Mandela. He remarried Graca Machel in 1998. She was the widow of Samora Machel, former president of Mozambique and leader of Frelimo.
Nelson Mandela: retirement
He did not seek a second term as South African president and was succeeded in 1999 by Mbeki. After leaving office, he retired from active politics.
He maintained a strong international presence as an advocate for peace, reconciliation and social justice through the work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, established in 1999.
He was also the founding member of the Elders. It is a group of international leaders that was established in 2007 to promote conflict and problem resolution around the world.
Nelson Mandela: writings, speeches and autoobraghy
His writings and speeches were collected in I am prepared to die, there is no easy path to freedom, the fight is my life and in his own words.
In 1994, the autobiography Long road to freedom which shows his early life and his years in prison. Additionally, an unfinished draft of the second volume of his memoirs, later completed by Mandla Langa, was published posthumously as Don’t You Dare Stay: The Presidential Years (2017). He died on December 5, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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