Nelson Mandela, originally named Rolihlahla, was born on July 18th, 1918 in Qunu, South Africa. Nelson’s father was an African chief, which gave Nelson the chance to attend a school. His first year he was nicknamed “Nelson” by his teacher. Nelson means troublemaker in Africa. He later attended university of Fort Hare and and university of Witwatersrand. He was the first in his family to go to college and get a law degree.
After college, Nelson set up his own law practice in Johannesburg and partnered with his friend, Walter Sisulu. In 1943, Nelson joined the African National Congress at the age of 25. Soon after he became part of a group of intellectuals. They were named the ANCYL, ANC Youth League. The group formed because of their dissatisfaction of the ANC. in 1946, the ANCYL drafted the Programme of Action. On July 15, 1944, Mandela married Evelyn Mase.
she was a nurse and was Walter Sisulu’s cousin, he was a partner with Mandela in the ANCYL. Later, Nelson and Evelyn had their first baby, Madiba Thembekile. Mandela studied Law at Wits college and gave much of his time to politics. In 1948, the National Party made it to where only whites could vote.
In 1952, Mandela became the leader of the liberation struggle. He was the public spokesperson and was named national volunteer in chief. As leader, he went around South Africa getting volunteers to break apartheid laws. When they got caught, they were charged with recruiting and training congress volunteers. The strike against the government started on June 26, 1952. 51 people were being led by the president of the Transvaal Indian Congress. Throughout the strike, many of the volunteers suffered prison time.
Mandela did not break any laws because he was the leader and he was told to not get arrested because the group would be leaderless. He was arrested several times throughout the strike but was released after a short amount of time. After his first strike failed, he came up with a plan known as the “M Plan”. Mandela and the ANC went underground and were helping the volunteers get away with breaking the law. Later that same month, Mandela and 19 other congress alliance activists were arrested for suppression of Communism Act.
Mandela was sentenced to nine months in prison with hard labour, he was suspended for three years, and he was also banned from attending any gatherings for six months. For the next nine years, his banning orders were being re done so they stayed on him. Even though Mandela was the leader of the ANC at that time, he was not allowed to have any say in anything they do. Though he was not allowed, he would continually meet with the ANC and the Congress Alliance Leadership secretively to plan out the campaign during the 1950’s. The campaign came to a halt when the government proposed very harsh punishments for the people that broke the Apartheid Laws.
Later, the ANC had a conference that Mandela couldn’t be at because of his banning orders. In 1955, Mandela was put in jail but got out on bail two weeks later. When he arrived home, he found that all of his wife’s stuff was gone and so was she. Mandela was one of one hundred and fifty-six people to be arrested on treason charges. It took four and a half years for everyone to be arrested.
Halfway through Mandela’s trial, he met his second wife, Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela. 3 years later, Justice Rumpff found Mandela, along with 36 others, not guilty for the crimes they commited. On March 21, 1960 the PAC, Pan Africanist Congress, were protesting against the government when police open fired on them. Sixty-nine people were killed while over two hundred people were injured. On March 30, Mandela and two thousand other political activist were arrested.
On April 8, the ANC and the PAC was banned. After being released, Mandela became secretary of the All In Africa Congress. The All In Africa Congress had a meeting in Pietermaritzburg.
1400 people attended the meeting. Mandela’s banning order was gone the day before the meeting so it wasn’t illegal for him to be speaking at the conference. At the conference, Mandela was made secretary of the All In Africa Congress. He told all students who were in school to stay home and to not go to school to protest against the government. After that he went off the radar and was a fugitive for the next seventeen months. On the second day of the stay at home campaign, they had been notified that it had failed.
Mandela then realized that they would have to turn to violent actions. Mandela was trained by Algerian Freedom Fighters to prepare for the violence. Mandela was driving around disguised as his white friends chauffeur when he was stopped and arrested. His movements were being marked down because there was a spy watching him. Mandela was sent to prison for five years for leaving his country without permission. In July, police raided Mandela’s underground safe house and found his book on where he was going to have a guerilla war.
On June 12, 1964, all the members of the ANC, including Mandela were charged with life in prison. This was the beginning of his twenty-seven years in prison. He was visited by many people but was given no privacy. It was mostly his wife that would come but he would sometimes have government officials come and talk to him. They would tell him that he could get out if he would recognize that slavery was going to happen, but he did not do as they asked. In 1988, the ANC held a big gathering for Mandela’s 70th birthday. The police tried to shut down the gathering and arrested a couple of people. Many went to the prison and begged for them to let out Mandela.
A twelve hour music festival was held and shown in over fifty countries. Most of the countries tried to make Africa release Mandela. On February 2, 1990, the new president, FW De Klerk, announced that the ANC and other political parties will be unbanned and be operational again. Finally, Mandela returned home to his wife, Winnie.
Mandela joined the ANC again after he was released and started his end of slavery run again. On May 10, 1994, Mandela was elected president of South Africa, and had one his fight against slavery. Mandela spent 5 years as president and retired.
On December 5, 2013 Mandela died in Houghton Estate in Johannesburg. His memorial service was held on December 15. Many, many people came to give Mandela one last thank you for the great life he gave them.