Nelson Mandela Homework

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Mvezo village in South Africa. His father, a chief of the Thembo people, died when Mandela was 12 and he was adopted by the acting king of the Thembo people.

He was the first of his family to attend school. He went to a Wesleyan mission school, the Clarkebury Boarding Institute and Healdtown Wesleyan College. He then enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare which was the only university open to black people in South Africa. As a young man Mandela learned about the history of his country and about the persecution of black people by the white people who ruled South Africa.

Whilst at Fort Hare Mandela was voted on to the student body. The students were holding a protest and Mandela resigned in support and left the college. His adoptive father was very angry and insisted he return. He also told Mandela that he had arranged marriages for Mandela and his cousin. In 1941 the two young men ran away to the city of Johannesburg to escape this. In Johannesburg Mandela worked as a guard and a clerk. He also continued his studies and started to train as a lawyer.

In 1942 Mandela joined the African National Congress and he became involved with setting up its youth league. A few years later, in 1948, the racist government of South Africa introduced its policy of apartheid. This was an intended to keep black and white peoples separate from each other in order to maintain the privileged position of white people. In 1949 the African National Congress committed itself to peaceful methods of disobedience such as strikes in order to try and change this policy. The Congress hoped to achieve equal rights for black people so that they could become full citizens.

In 1953 he and his close friend Oliver Tambo opened up Mandela and Tambo, the first black law firm in South Africa. They gave free and low-cost legal advice to black people, many of whom had been badly treated by the police.

As a result of his continuing involvement with the Congress Mandela was appointed National Volunteer in chief of the Defiance Campaign. He was also involved in the Congress of the People which led to the drafting of a freedom charter. As a result of this Mandela and 150 other campaigners were arrested and charged with treason, a crime against the state. Five years later he was found not guilty of this offence.

In 1960 a big demonstration against apartheid was held at Sharpeville. The police shot dead 69 protesters and then claimed that the African National Congress was responsible for their deaths. Mandela became convinced that peaceful protest alone would not be sufficient to achieve his aims and that armed struggle was essential to bring about the end of apartheid. He helped form the Spear of the Nation organisation.

In 1964 Mandela and ten other leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment. In the 1980s a big international campaign was set up to urge his release. The South African government offered to release Mandela if he would give up his struggle but he refused to agree to their conditions. Finally in February 1990 the South African president FW de Klerk announced his release and agreed that the African National Congress could operate freely again. Mandela was elected president of the Congress with his old friend Oliver Tambo as chairperson.

On the 27 April 1994 the first free democratic elections were held in South Africa. It was the first time Mandela had been able to vote. He became the first black president of South Africa. He remained in office until 1999, working to take apart the system of apartheid and to make sure that a new set of rules for running the country was put in place.

Nelson Mandela died in December 2013 at the age of 95.

Famous friends

Oliver Tambo (1917-1993) – an old friend of Mandela’s who attended Fort Hare university and was expelled at the same time as Mandela.  Partner in Mandela and Tambo law firm. A founder member of the African National Congress Youth League. He spent thirty years in exile encouraging opposition to apartheid.
FW de Klerk b 1936 – last president of apartheid South Africa. He was leader of the National Party between 1989-97. He helped bring about the end of apartheid and supported the transition of South Africa into a multi racial society. He was a deputy president under Nelson Mandela. In 1993 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela.
Winnie Mandela b 1936 – a South African activist who was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 unto their divorce in 1996. She headed the African National Congress Women’s League. She was  strongly suspected of having been heavily involved in violence and corruption.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was not just influential, he was revolutionary.

Knowing the sociopolitical context of South Africa is critical to understand the gravity of Mandela's actions fully. While Mandela was growing up, South Africa was under apartheid, a system of segregation between the white, European ruling class and native people of color. In this system, native people were severely oppressed and subject to restrictions the ruling class was not. Even after apartheid was formally "over,"...

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was not just influential, he was revolutionary.

Knowing the sociopolitical context of South Africa is critical to understand the gravity of Mandela's actions fully. While Mandela was growing up, South Africa was under apartheid, a system of segregation between the white, European ruling class and native people of color. In this system, native people were severely oppressed and subject to restrictions the ruling class was not. Even after apartheid was formally "over," some of these restrictions persisted. One such restriction that Mandela organized a campaign against were "pass laws," which required native people of color to carry a sort of identification card that was to be shown any time they wanted to gain access to a "whites only" space. 

As a young man, Mandela worked with the African National Congress to advocate for people of color. In 1952, he lead the Defiance Campaign, demonstrating with and supporting others in civil disobedience against unjust laws in South Africa. The government deemed this to be an act of communism, and Mandela and several others involved were sentenced to nine months of hard labor as punishment. 

For his persistent efforts in fighting against the institutionalized racial oppression of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, Mandela was elected to the African National Congress while in prison. In 1994, Mandela was elected president of South Africa in the country's first truly democratic election — previously, only the white ruling class could vote. All his life, Mandela spoke openly and ardently about the injustices occurring in South Africa. His persistence is remarkable and honorable. Today, Mandela is representative of the struggle people faced under apartheid and the good things that can come through diligently fighting for what is right. 

Mandela's influence is not only felt in South Africa; many in the United States and elsewhere have been inspired to participate in civil disobedience against unjust institutions as a result of Mandela's work.

0 Replies to “Nelson Mandela Homework”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *