Quotes and words of wisdom from Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013
Nelson Mandela was born into the Thembu royal family in the British ruled South Africa. He was able to study law at two universities before he started work as a lawyer in Johannesburg. During his time working as a lawyer Mandela slowly became interested in politics and joined the African National Congress party (ANC party) in 1943, after the government in charge established apartheid, a system of racial segregation of blacks and coloured in favour or whites.
Mandela’s commitment to the overthrow of this white supremacy began with his involvement with the ‘Defiance Campaign against unjust laws’ which led to the first large scale mobilisation against the apartheid government. His also had much influence and involvement in ‘Gathering of the Congress of the People’ which in 1955 lay out there vision for a future South Africa including all its rainbow nation, that is now known as ‘The Freedom Charter’.
Mandela was arrested on numerous occasions all for the act of Sedition, defined as the speech or organisation of thought or ideas that lead to the uprising against the establishment. He was unsuccessfully prosecuted. Mandela originally started out with a commitment to non violent methods, slowly over the next seven years as he progressed within the ANC he would also turn to more dramatic steps and became co-founder of the militant group known as the Umkhonto we Sizwe or spear of the nation, a heavily armed division of the ANC intent on creating havoc against the government. After the first attacks on government facilities and institutions they were seen and classed as terrorists by not only the South Africa government but also the United States Of America.
Mandela was convicted and imprisoned in 1962 for inciting world to strike and leaving the country without permission. A police raid of the lilliesleaf farm in 1963, headquarters of the Umkhonto militant group, incriminating evidence was uncovered and along with 10 other ANC lead members Mandela was convicted and sentenced to Life in prison.
Nelson Mandela would spend the next 27 years behind bars, with his fame growing slowly around the world Mandela’s personality developed into the wise and caring man he became. He was offered a release in 1985 only if he put a stop to the ever increasing violence on the streets of South Africa. He rejected the offer and the situation in South Africa deteriorated ever more.
By 1988 Mandela turned 70 and this attracted a lot of world wide media attention, a concert was staged at Wembley arena London that was seen by over 200 million world wide, the slogan free Nelson Mandela was born.
A further two years passed and with the long serving P.W. Botha having a stroke gave way for F.W de Klerk to become president. He believed the apartheid was unsustainable and started to release some of the ANC political prisoners. On the 11th of February 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison and held a hero by his own people. A televised event around the world Mandela gave a speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white majority, instantly giving him heroic status amongst those listening.
Mandela stood in the first democratically South African elections where all were able to vote. He won a landslide overall majority a served for two terms as South Africa’s first black president. He really was loved by whites and black alike, he had a calm and sense of purpose about him, his passion and determination not to see revenge from his own people or to slip into another type of apartheid this time against the whites. He truly was an inspirational figure of the 20th century and was awarded the noble peace prize in recognition.