Nelson Mandela – Some Background

Nelson Mandela was not born with that name that made him an iconic figure worldwide. His real name is Rolihlahla Mandela. In the year 1918, on the shores of the River Mbashe, in the small village of Mvezo; he was born to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. His father was a counselor and acting king of Thembu people, under the direction of their leader, Jongitaba Dalindyebo.

Mandela was not to know his father for a very long time, since the latter passed away when Mandela was a small child. Mandela became a ward of Jongitaba due to the disappearance of his father. Here, he came to hear about how his ancestors fought bravely in several wars to fight oppression. He too became encouraged to become like his ancestors and fight all forms of oppression. Mandela was to have his father oppressed and stripped of his high ranking as a counselor before his death. He was forced to go to a small village in Qunu where there were no roads. It is some of these injustices that put Mandela on the road to greatness.

It Makes You Wonder..

Nelson Mandela loved to take a lot when he was a child. He would play with the boys. Then went through the rite of passage and became a young lad. His father enabled him to be baptized. He was the first in his family to go to school. The British teacher had a hard time pronouncing his name, so he informed him that he would be known as Nelson from that day forth.

Nelson Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918. His father being a tribe main of the cultural team, trained Nelson to be a tribe chief. But, Nelson chose to visit university to become lawyer. In the mid 1940s, Nelson joined the Africa Nationwide Our elected representatives (ANC), the largest Black team from the South Africa Government. He or she brought protests against the Government enacted the law which outlawed the actual ANC. Nelson brought more direct orders against the Federal government, that led to his arrest in ’62. This time around, however, was found guilty and was delivered to prison for life. Nelson as a symbol of the actual demonstration from the apartheid came attentions from lots of people in the world. They regularly required his launch. More direct orders were held in Nigeria. These led to the sociopolitical lack of stability of this nation. In 1989, obama of South Africa met along with nelson to work with each other with regard to peach. These Nelson decided. The Government allowed people to end up being members of the ANC, as well as Nelson was launched from prison within 1990. Nelson Mandela caused the federal government to set up a new constitution. Within 94′, each Shades of black as well as Whites chosen within the nation’s very first free selection, and Nelson was chosen president. He had become the nation’s very first Black leader. Nelson helped South Africa terminate apartheid and much more towards democracy.

However, after the passing of his father, Jongitaba decided to take in Mandela as a favour to his father, who had earlier asked that Jongitaba is made chief of the Thembu people. He left Thembu an apprehensive young man, fearing that it was the final time he would see his home. However, after getting to Mqhekezweni, Mandela quickly adopted to the new lifestyle and surroundings. He was put on equal stature as the children of Jongitaba.

Whenever elders from far and wide came to see Jongitaba, Mandela would listen to their stories with rapt attention, and he became attached to African history. He went to school in a nearby class-room adjacent to the palace and got to learn more about Xhosa culture and history. He slowly got to realize that life was peaceful until the time the ‘white man’ arrived. He understood that the white man had pitted African brothers against each other, with a view to divide and rule them. He felt that it wasn’t fair at all.

When Mandela was only 16 years old, he underwent the rite of circumcision. The process didn’t just involve the surgical part. However, it also involved elaborate schooling that would make him a man who would be permitted to marry and even inherit his father’s property. It was during this ritual that Mandela was disheartened by the situation prevailing in his land. One of the chiefs, who addressed him, alongside 25 other boys, was emphatic that he sympathized with the young men who would be enslaved in their respective home. He said that the young men would never take charge of their lands since the white man had taken everything. The words that were spoken by Chief Meligqili would later create his resolve to fight against the white man. He was groomed to become a counselor of the chief of Thembu up returning from the rite.

The Chief, Jongitaba, gave Mandela royalty status. He therefore attended a number of the best schools around. He went to Clarkebury Boarding Institute where he excelled academically and also in track and boxing. His classmates would call him a ‘country boy” but later they warmed to his charm, one of them included Mathona, his first girl friend. Mandela joined the University College of Fort Hare as it was the sole school in which blacks were permitted to attend. The College had international students from all over Africa. At the time, it was felt that the best job that a black man could have was to be a clerk. This led Mandela to study Roman Dutch Law.

While still at college, Mandela was elected into the Student Representative Council, during his second year. The student body was angry that the SRC had no power over the quality of food that they ate. The students indicated that they would boycott the elections. Mandela followed suite and resigned his position. This earned him his first expulsion as the administration sought to compel him to retake his position in the SRC.

When Mandela returned home, the regent was not happy about the developments at the college. He saw that Mandela’s life was not well structured, so he planned to have Mandela marry a girl of his choice. He felt that tribal custom gave him the right to say who and when Mandela would marry. Feeling caged, Mandela ran away from home. He went to Johannesburg where he started doing menial jobs in order to survive. As he did so, he went ahead with his studies, via correspondence and finished his Bachelors Degree. The then went to University of Witwatersrand where he studied law.

Henry Mgadla Mandela. Mandela’s father was the chieftain of the Thembu people. Mandela’s given name, Rolihlahla literally means ‘pulling the branches of a tree ‘, but its colloquial interpretation suggests ‘mischief monger ‘, not unlike the young Nelson himself.

In 1942, Mandela went into politics by joining the African National Congress (AFC). Here he joined another group of young men, who formed the African National Congress Youth League. The youth league was given the liability of getting support for the ANC from the grassroots. They were to engage peasants and get them to arise. They believed that the polite petitioning of the ANC was not getting the desired results. It was in 1949, that the ANC finally let go of the polite tactics and started mass action, non-cooperation, boycotts, and other activities to affect the policies of the white government.

Mandela’s political life began after the ‘National Party ‘, that supported racism, came to power in South Africa. Thereafter Mr. Mandela entered the fray and his struggle began. He laid the basis of the African National Congress’ Youth League in 1944. The African National Congress too adopted its ‘Programme of Action’ in 1949. He actively involved in the’ Defiance Campaign’ of the African National Congress.

For 20 years, Mandela was involved with the ANC, and led non-violent protests against the policies of the South African government. He formed a law firm with Oliver Tambo, where they helped poor blacks get legal representation. In 1956, he and a set of 150 young men were arrested for treason but they were later released. Mandela was disillusioned with the slow pace of peaceful protests. He embraced militant action in 1961. He founded Umkhonto We Sizwe. This was primarily supposed to perform acts of vandalism and guerilla campaigns to stop the white rule. He led a national workers strike that lasted for 3 days. Mandela was arrested the following year and was ordered to 5 years in prison after investigations by the police. In 1963, he was tried again, and this time was sentenced to a life sentence with 10 other young men. He was to write the next 27 years in prison, 18 of which were spent at Robben Island. He contacted Tuberculosis while in prison, a fact that was to follow him during the rest of his life. Mandela’s fight didn’t go unnoticed and international pressure began to mount for his release.

The International community increased pressure for the release of Mandela. The government tried to negotiate with him but he turned them down since they were tying his release to his refusal to go back to the ANC. Mandela stuck to his position, until President Botha was replaced by President de Klerk. After further negotiations with the government, Mandela was released and the ANC was unbanned.

When Mandel left prison, he asked the international community to keep up the pressure and push for constitutional reforms. Mandela said that he wanted peace between all South Africans regardless of their race. This meant that the government had to give blacks the entitlement to vote. Although Mandela wanted a peaceful sharing of power, the black majority clamored for a complete transfer. This made the negotiations very difficult. In 1991, Mandela became the president of the ANC. He continued negotiations with de Klerk. This led to their joint award of the Nobel Peace Price in 1993. In the year 1994, South Africa went to the polls, and Mandela became the first black president. Mandela pushed through the establishment of peace in the country and also bolstered the growth of the economy during his presidency.

 

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