Nelson Mandela biography, Age, Wife, Childhood, Untold Stories

Nelson Mandela biography, Age, Wife, Childhood, Untold Stories

Nelson Mandela Full Biography

1st President of South Africa

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

In office
10 May 1994 – 16 June 1999
DeputyThabo Mbeki
F. W. de Klerk
Preceded byF. W. de Klerk (State President)
Succeeded byThabo Mbeki
11th President of the
African National Congress
In office
7 July 1991 – 20 December 1997
DeputyWalter Sisulu
Thabo Mbeki
Preceded byOliver Tambo
Succeeded byThabo Mbeki
19th Secretary General of the
Non-Aligned Movement
In office
2 September 1998 – 16 June 1999
Preceded byAndrés Pastrana Arango
Succeeded byThabo Mbeki
Personal details
Born
Rolihlahla Mandela

18 July 1918
Mvezo, Cape Province, South Africa

Died5 December 2013 (aged 95)
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Cause of deathRespiratory infection
Resting placeMandela Graveyard
Qunu, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Political partyAfrican National Congress
Other political
affiliations
South African Communist Party
Spouse(s)
Children6 (including MakgathoMakaziweZenani and Zindziswa)
ParentsNosekeni Fanny
Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Activist
  • Politician
  • Philanthropist
  • Lawyer
Known forAnti-Apartheid Movement
Awards
Notable work(s)Long Walk to Freedom
Websitenelsonmandela.org
Nickname(s)
  • Madiba
  • Dalibunga

 

 

Who is Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Transkei, South Africa. His father was the Tembu tribe of Hindley Mphakanyiswa. Mandela himself studied law education at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and, after 1948, resisted the apartheid policies of the governing state party. He was tried for treason from 1956 to 1961 and acquitted in 1961.

After banning the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela advocated the creation of a military component within the ANC. In June 1961, the ANC executive considered his proposal for the use of violence and agreed that the ANC would not prevent members who wished to run for Mandela from doing so. This led to the formation of Umkhonto our Sizwe. Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years in prison. Mandela was brought to their trial in 1963 when the leaders of many colleagues of the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested as they masterminded the overthrow of the government through violence.

Nelson Mandela biography, Age, Wife, Childhood, Untold Stories

Nelson Mandela

His statement in the dock received considerable international publicity. On 12 June 1964, eight defendants, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment. From 1964 to 1982, he was held in the Robben Island prison near Cape Town; since then, he has been held in the Pollsmoor Prison on the nearby mainland.

In prison, Nelson Mandela’s reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as South Africa’s foremost black leader and a powerful symbol of resistance as a rallying force of the anti-apartheid movement. He has consistently refused to compromise his political position in order to obtain his freedom.

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Nelson Mandela was released on 11 February 1990. After he was released, he threw himself into his life in an effort to achieve the goals he and others set four decades ago. In 1991, at the first ANC national conference in South Africa, Mandela was elected president of the ANC in 1960, and his lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the national president of the organization.

Nelson Mandela’s childhood and education

Born on July 18, 1918, Nelson Mandela became the royal family of the Xhosa Thembu tribe, located in the village of Mvezo in South Africa, where his father Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa (circa 1880-1928) served as chief.

Nelson Mandela biography, Age, Wife, Childhood, Untold Stories

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Mandela in 1990, months after he emerged from 27 years in jail. They divorced in 1996.

His mother, Nosekeni Fanny, was the third of the four wives of Mphakanyiswa, who together gave birth to him nine daughters and four sons. After his father’s death in 1927, 9-year-old Mandela-then known by his birth name, Rory rahla-was adopted by Jongintaba Dalindyebo, a high-ranking Thembu regency who began to train his young ward in tribal leadership.

Nelson Mandela biography, Age, Wife, Childhood, Untold Stories

Nelson Mandela at 93 with (from left) his granddaughter Zaziwe, great-granddaughter Ziphokazi, daughter Zenani, granddaughter Zamaswazi and great-granddaughter Zamakhosi.

Nelson Mandela and the Armed resistance

In 1961, Nelson Mandela co-founded and became the First leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the nation”), also known as MK, the new armed wing of the ANC. A few years later, during a nearly thirty-year prison trial, he described the rationale for this fundamental departure from the original principles of his party: “it is wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue to spread peace and non-violence while the government meets our demands for peace by force. It was only when everything else failed and when all avenues of peaceful protest were banned that it was decided to wage a violent form of political struggle.”

Under Mandela’S leadership, MK launched a sabotage against the government, which recently declared South Africa a republic and withdrew from the Commonwealth. In January 1962, Mandela went abroad illegally to participate in a meeting of African nationalist leaders in Ethiopia, visited Oliver Tambo, a London-based exile, and received guerrilla training in Algeria.

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On 5 August, shortly after his return, he was arrested for leaving the country and inciting the workers to strike in 1961 and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison. The following July, police raided ANC hideout in Rivonia, a suburb of Johannesburg, and arrested a group of ethnically diverse MK leaders who gathered to discuss the merits of the guerrilla insurgency. The evidence was found to have implicated Mandela and other activists,who were brought to trial for sabotage, treason and violent conspiracy with their accomplices.

mandela in jail at Robben Island

Mandela and seven other defendants narrowly escaped the hanging and were sentenced to life in prison during the so-called Rivonia Trial, which lasted eight months and drew considerable international attention. In an electrifying opening statement, which mothballed his iconic status around the world, Mandela admitted some of the charges against him, while defending the actions of the Guardian ANC, condemning the injustice of apartheid. He concluded in the following words: “I cherish the ideals of a democratic and free society in which all people can live together in harmony and enjoy equal opportunities. This is an ideal that I wish to live and achieve. But if desired, it is an ideal, and I am ready to die.”

Nelson Mandela’s years in prison

Nelson Mandela spent his first 27 years in prison for 18 years at Robben Island, a former leper prison off the coast of Cape Town, where he was locked up in a small cell without a bed or pipe and forced to work as a hard worker in a lime quarry. As a black political prisoner, he received fewer rations and fewer privileges than other prisoners. He was only allowed to see his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936 -), whom he married in 1958, was the mother of his two young daughters, once every six months. Mandela and his fellow prisoners are often subjected to inhumane punishment for the slightest offense; among other atrocities, there are reports of guards burying prisoners on the ground with their necks and peeing on them.

Despite these restrictions and conditions, during his incarceration, Mandela received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of London and served as a mentor to other inmates, encouraging them to seek better treatment through non-violent resistance. He also smuggled out political statements and a draft autobiography “Long Gone To Freedom”, released five years after his release.

Although he was forced to retreat from the spotlight, Mandela remained the symbolic leader of the antiyapark movement. In 1980, Oliver Tambo launched a”release Nelson Mandela” Campaign to make the incarcerated leader a household name, and fueled international pressure on South Africa’s racist regime, with the government granting Mandela Freedom in exchange for political compromises, including renunciation of violence and recognition of”independence”.

In 1982, Mandela was transferred to the mainland’s Pollsmoor Prison, and in 1988, he was placed under house arrest in a minimum prison. The following year, the newly elected president De Klerk (1936 -) lifted the ban on the ANC and called on a non-nationalist South Africa to break the Conservatives of his party. On 11 February 1990, he ordered Mandela’s release.

Nelson Mandela’s old age and legacy

After his departure, Nelson Mandela remained a faithful advocate of peace and social justice in his own country and throughout the world. He established a number of organizations, including the influential Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Elders, an independent public figure dedicated to solving global problems and alleviating human suffering. In 2002, Mandela became an open advocate for AIDS awareness and treatment programmes in a culture where pandemics have been obscured by shame and ignorance.

The disease later claimed the life of his son Makgatho (1950-2005) and was thought to affect more people in South Africa than in any other country.

Having been treated for prostate cancer in 2001 and weakened by other health problems, Mr. Mandela became increasingly vulnerable in his later years, cutting back on his public appearance schedule. In 2009, the United Nations proclaimed the Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July in recognition of the contribution of South Africa’s leaders to democracy, freedom, peace and human rights around the world. Nelson Mandela died December 5, 2013 from a recurring lung infection.

 

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