Some interesting facts about Nelson Mandela which you probably didn’t know..

  • Nelson Mandela’s original name was Rolihlahla Mandela. (Nelson was added later.) He was born in “Black” Transkei, Africa on July 18, 1918.


  • Mandela is the world’s most celebrated man who has held a political office while being jailed for nearly 30 years. Despite the fact that his freedom was stripped from him, he continued to stand up for his beliefs for his South African Brothers and Sisters who are still struggling with the affects of Apartheid.


  • Nelson’s peaceful boyhood was spent cattle herding and other rural pursuits. When his father died, Nelson’s rich and powerful relative took custody of him. Nelson Mandela was influenced by his African heritage of ritual and taboo. His values and attitudes were shaped by traditions and his royal privileges.


  • He was sent to boarding school and later to Fort Hare Missionary College. He was expelled from college for helping to organize a strike against the white colonial rule of the institution. He then became involved in other protests against the white colonial rule. In doing so he set out for personal and national liberation. He ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage. Later, he graduated from the University of South Africa with a degree in law. He joined a law firm as an apprentice.


  • Nelson MandelaIn 1942,Nelson joined the African National Congress (ANC), which, at the time, was polite to the government. Soon Nelson Mandela had persuaded the ANC to use boycotts and strikes against the government instead of being polite. He was arrested for civil disobedience, and was not allowed to attend gatherings.


  • In his spare time, Nelson Mandela studied to become a lawyer so that he could protect blacks. Work as a lawyer strengthened his feelings against apartheid (which segregated and discriminated against blacks in South Africa). Nelson was particularly active during the 1950’s.


  • After the Shapesville massacre in which many blacks were killed, the white rule banned the ANC. Nelson went underground. He created the MK, which was the military portion of the ANC. Nelson arranged military training in Algeria for the MK members. He launched a sabotage campaign. On his return from Algeria he was arrested for going between countries without a passport, and was tried for sabotage and Africa attempting to overthrow the government. He spent the next 28 years in prison. Before going to prison he said, “Make every home, every shack or rickety structure into a learning center.”


  • When he got to Robben Island where he was to be imprisoned Nelson was told to jog to the prison gate. He refused. He and the other prisoners started a hunger strike to get better living conditions. The prisoners won. They also found ways to communicate with other prisoners. A few methods were: writing messages on toilet paper, hiding messages in the bottom of food buckets, slipping notes in the dirty dishes (they made the dishes extra dirty for this) so the cook prisoners could read them, and taping notes to the inside rim of toilet seats.


  • While Nelson was in prison he was offered freedom if he would stop his violent actions. He refused this offer.


  • During Nelson Mandela’s jail time he had secret talks with South Africa’s president, P.W. Botha, and his successor, F.W. de Klerk. As a result, in 1990 he was freed.


  • He was appointed Deputy President of the ANC. The ANC decided to suspend its 30-year armed struggle. In July of 1991, Nelson Mandela was appointed President of the ANC. Nelson decided to join the government and other parties to negotiate South Africa’s future. Finally everyone came to agree on a majority rule constitution. This constitution states that racial discrimination it is against the law.


  • In 1993, Nelson Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with F.W. de Klerk forAfrican Flag dismantling apartheid, and in 1994 he became the first democratically elected South African president.


  • In June of 1999, Nelson Mandela retired from the presidency, and returned to live in the town of Qunu, Transkei, in which was born.


  • Restful retirement was not on the cards as Mandela shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis raising millions of dollars to fight the disease.


  • His struggle against AIDS became starkly personal in early 2005 when he lost his only surviving son to the disease.

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