(July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013)
Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, was the greatest personality of 20th Century. He attended primary school in Qunu where his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the name Nelson, in accordance with the then custom to give all school children “Christian” names. Towards the end of his life he became a universally beloved almost cuddly, icon of peace and reconciliation. Towards the end of his life Mr. Nelson Mandela mellowed down and that can be concluded by looking at his photograph. However, the fire in him never died. A fighter to the core, he is a symbol of persistence in achieving his goal, social freedom. Mandela never allowed anybody to call him a saint.
Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived; to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.
During 1950s in South Africa, there was a kind of segregation between Whites and non-whites. Apartheid was a kind of segregation and it was a way of life. There were separated schools, buses, hospitals and so on. Year by year many other laws were introduced. All power was given to Whites. Because of this, he joined to African National Congress (ANC). ANC was founded in 1912 by black lawyers. The ANC had 3 goals: an end to discrimination, the right for black people to buy land and full citizenship for all Africans; the ANC wanted to abolish apartheid.
Nelson Mandela felt that the organization could do more for the non-whites. In this organization, he organized non-violence protest action, like demonstration and strike. In 1960 the White government banned the ANC, but the members didn’t take it seriously; Mandela and the other ANC members went underground and continued their work.
In 1962, Mandela was caught by the police, because the police raided a secret ANC office. He was sentenced to the life imprisonment in the prison on Robben Island. Finally in 1990, Mandela was released from prison and he immediately got back to work (the ban of ANC, was lifted too). At the end of 1993 Mandela and the president F.W. de Klerk were given the Nobel Peace Prize for their work for peace in South Africa.
Published in Issue V, April 2014