Nelson Mandela - Essay Example

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The present essay entitled "Nelson Mandela" deals with the personality of Nelson Mandela. As the author puts it, Nelson Mandela was a renowned great leader who spent almost all of his adult days fighting for fairness and equality in South Africa. …
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Task: Report on African Person of Significance: Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was a renowned great leader who spent almost all of his adult days fighting for fairness and equality in South Africa. He was an inspiration to many people globally to fight for a better life in a non-violent manner. He is affectionately adverted to by many as “Madiba” which means father. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was conceived on 18th July 1918 to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakannyiswa in Mvezo, Transkei located on the southeast parts of South Africa. The name Rolihlahla is Xhosa which can be interpreted to mean “troublemaker” (Stengel, 12). His father was the chief councilor of Thembuland. Throughout his childhood, Mandela was groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a chief. However, to his family’s disappointment, Mandela chose to take on the political path instead.
Mandela was the first child among his family to go to school. His parents were both uneducated and had no formal education whatsoever. Mandela once asserted that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (Stengel, 65).
By the year 1942, Mandela was already involved in political movements. He started taking part in the African National Congress (ANC) meetings. The ANC was a revolutionary group in South Africa whose main aim was to fight racial oppression and separation in South Africa, commonly referred to as the apartheid.
In 1944, Mandela was among the people who helped in the formation of the African National Congress Youth League (NCCYL). It was in the same time that Mandela got married to Evelyn Ntoko Mase. The two were later on blessed with four children.
In 1956, Mandela and more than 100 of his associates were arrested and jailed for treason.
On March 21, 1960, 69 unarmed citizens were murdered by the police as they were peacefully protesting against the pass laws in Sharpeville. This changed the political climate in the country. It resulted in the country’s first state of emergency. The Pan African Congress and the ANC were halted. Thousands of South Africans including Mandela and his friends were detained during the declared state of emergency. Mandela was sentenced with life imprisonment for fighting the apartheid. During his trial, he divorced his wife and got married to a Winnie Madikizela. They were blessed with two girls. They later on divorced in 1996. He spent 27 years of his lifetime in jail (Stengel, 82). He was freed in 1990. Upon his freedom from jail, he continued with his fight against racial segregation and inequality. He also fought against the violence that was growing in South Africa. For his great work, Mandela was honored with the Nobel Prize in 1993.
In 1994, South Africa had its first ever democratic and fair election in which everyone was given the opportunity to vote. He came out the victor and was the President. In his time as the President, he advocated for reconciliation, peaceful resolution of grievances by the citizens after years of autocratic laws against South Africans. Most people believe that without Mandela’s leadership, South Africa would probably have slipped into a bloody social war. He served until 1999 but refused to go for a second term. Each year on April 27th, South Africa celebrates Freedom Day to signify their first ever democratic election.
Nelson Mandela never reeled in his commitment to fight for democracy, learning and equality. Despite the constant incitement, he never answered racism with racism or violence with violence. His life is a motivation to all those who are oppressed and stripped of their rights and to those who are fighting against oppression and inequality in the society.
Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 on 5th December 2013 of natural causes in his home in Johannesburg after a long fight with cancer. He will always be honored and valued as one of the exceptional statesman of all time and as a peacemaker (Stengel, 94).
Work Cited
Stengel, Richard. Nelson Mandela: Portrait of an Extraordinary Man. London?: Virgin Books, 2012. Print. Read More
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