Nelson Mandela (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela) is South Africa’s first black President(May 10th 1994 to June 14th 1999). He is one of the most renowned fighters against the Apartheid regime for the rights of the black population. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.From September 3rd 1998 to June 14th 1999, he was the general secretary of the Non-Aligned Movement. He is an honorary member of more than 50 international universities.
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18th 1918 near Umata, in the eastern part of Cape Province. He was the eldest son of a Thembu tribe chief. The tribe spoke the Xhosa language. Mandela was 9 years old when his father died of tuberculosis.
· At the age of 16, he underwent the circumcision ritual in keeping with tradition.
· Attended classes at the University of Fort Hare, but was expelled in 1940 for taking part in a boycott.
· Worked as an articled clerk at a law firm in Johannesburg. At night he worked on his BA through a University of South Africa correspondent course. He also studied law at Witwatersrand University.
Social and political activity
· In 1952, He and Oliver Tambo (the ANC leader in exile) opened the first legal firm in Johannesburg that was led by black lawyers.
· Helped create the ANC Youth League. Led the movement of a non-violent resistance to Apartheid. In 1953, was elected the President of the Transvaal Branch of the ANC.
· Charged with high treasons and sent to a prison in 1956 (acquitted in 1961).
· In 1960, Mandela was made the ANC leader.Following the shooting of a peaceful protest in Sharpeville, the ban on the ANC and the Pan-African Congress under Robert Sobukwe, Mandela forms a military wing of the ANC, “Umkhonto we Sizwe” (The Spear of the Nation).
· In 1962 he was sent to prison for inciting strikes. In 1964, Nelson Mandela and the other leaders of Umkhonto we Sizwe were sentenced to life in prison on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the regime. When addressing the court, Nelson Mandela said he was being tried for the striving to build in South Africa a democratic society, where all races and ethnic groups would live in peace and harmony.
· In 1990, the last white President of South Africa, Frederik de Klerk, signed a decree legalizing the ANC,which automatically set Mandela free.The news was covered live throughout the world on February 11th 1990.
· In July 1991, Nelson Mandela becomes the President of the ANC.
· In December 1991, N. Mandela and Frederik de Klerk called a many-hour and multi-party conference to agree a new constitution. In February 1993, a transitional coalition government was set up.
· In 1993, N. Mandela and F. de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
· In 1996, a new constitution of South Africa was adopted, one that guaranteed all South Africans equal rights irrespective of race, sex, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. However, the growth of crime and economic problems triggered massive emigration of the white population from South Africa in the late 1990s.
· N. Mandela remained South African President, but stepped down as the ANC leader in December 1997 and did not seek presidential nomination for the 1999 election.
There is evidence that Nelson Mandela was also a member of the South African Communist Party from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Statements to that end have been made by some prominent members of the South African Communist Party, such as Joe Matthews, Brian Bunting and others.
In 1964, N. Mandela served a life term in a solitary cell of a prison on
Robben Island; near the Cape of Good Hope.
– N. Mandela and the other convicts were engaged in enforced labour in a lime pit.
– All those serving their terms were divided depending on their skin colour, with the black-skinned given the smallest food rations.
– Political prisoners were held separately and were allowed to enjoy the minimum of benefits.
– As a D-Group convict, N. Mandela had the right to one visit and one letter in six months.
– When in prison, Mandela studied by correspondence at London University and was subsequently granted the Bachelor of Law.
In March 1982, N. Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison.
– In February 1985, President Pieter Botha of South Africa suggested that Mandela be released in exchange for an unconditional pledge to give up violence as a political instrument.
– Mandela refused, telling Botha via his, Mandela’s, daughter that he could not quite understand freedom for himself, when the people’s organization remained banned. It is only free people who can start talks. A prison mate is in no position to conclude agreements.
In 1988, Mandela was transferred to the Victor Verster Prison, where he stayed until his release
The “Free Nelson Mandela” campaign turned into an international struggle for dismantling the system of Apartheid and changing the political system of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela’s socio-economic reforms
· Free medical service for all children under six, for pregnant women and nursing mothers who resort to services of government-run public health centres.
· The launching of the Reconstruction and Development programme to fund social services.
· Boosting spending on state benefit payments.
· The introduction of equality in paying benefits irrespective of race.
· The introduction of money allowances for the maintenance of black parents’ children in rural areas.
· Drastic increase in spending on education.
· The adoption of the Land Returning Act. The people, deprived of their lands under the 1913 Natives Land Act now had the right to demand their lands back.
· The adoption of the Land Reform Law, protecting the rights of tenant farmers, living at the farms and engaged in agricultural activities. The leaseholder could not be deprived of their landed property without a court decision or if they turned 65.
· Offering grants to help fight child poverty.
· The adoption of a law ensuring further professional training, making legally permanent the funding mechanism and taking action on moves to raise professional training skills at the place of employment.
· The adoption of a law on labour relations.
· The adoption of a law on the core terms of employment, a law that sought to protect the rights of workers.
· The adoption of a law on equality in employment that abolished racial discrimination.
· Connecting over 3 million residents to telephone networks.
· Repairing and building new 500 clinics.
· Connecting more than 2 million residents to power grids.
· Construction of more than 750,000 homes for 3 million people.
· Ensuring 3 million people access to water.
· The introduction of compulsory education for African children between 6 and 14.
· Free meals for 3.5 million to 5 million schoolchildren.
· The adoption of a law on health protection and security guarantees in underground mines etc.
· Makgatho, the eldest son of Nelson Mandela. Died of AIDS in 2005. He was 54. Nelson Mandela energetically called for a better covering of HIV and AIDS problems. According to experts, there are some 5 million HIV carriers and AIDS sufferers, or more than in any other country.
· Thembekile, Mandela’s youngest son, died in a car crash. The authorities did not allow Nelson Mandela, who was then in prison, to attend the funeral.
· Mandela’s great-granddaughter Zenani died in a car crash following a concert dedicated to the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
· Nelson Mandela has three daughters: one by his first wife Evelyn, who died in 2004, and two others by his second wife, Winnie.
Winnie Mandela(born in 1936) was a leader of the African resistance movement in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1988, her bodyguards abducted and beat up four black teenagers, one of whom was later found dead.
In 1991, Winnie was sentenced to six years behind bars, with the sentence suspended.
Nelson and Winnie Mandela separated in 1992 and subsequently divorced.
Perpetuating the memory
· The Specials A.K.A.English group recorded a song, Nelson Mandela.
· A Fort Elizabeth city district has been named after Nelson Mandela, – the Nelson Mandela Bay district, and there is also a stadium there, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Uganda’s National Stadium has also been named after Mandela.
· Cape Town has a Nelson Mandela street.
· A monument to Nelson Mandelahas been erected in central London.
· A film, Invictus,was shot in 2009, based on actual facts from Mandela’s life.
· In 2012, Google sets up a Nelson Mandela digital archive.
· In 2012, the Reserve Bank of South Africa issued a new series of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 rand notes with a portrait of Nelson Mandela.
Works by Nelson Mandela
“Long Walk to Freedom” (autobiography) (English)
“The Struggle Is My Life” (English)
“Nelson Mandela Speaks: Forging a Democratic, Nonracial South Africa” (English)
– Nelson Mandela dies at 95
– From Gandhi to Mandela: Fall of apartheid in South Africa
– ‘I have lived my life’: Mandela mulled death in unseen video
– People around the world mourn Nelson Mandela’s death (Photos)
– Mandela’s death is loss to mankind – Gorbachev
Voice of Russia