Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela popularly known as Nelson Mandela is a famous South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, business expert, investor, entrepreneur, human right activist, humanitarian and a philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black president of South Africa. He was born on 18th July 1918 in Mvezo, Umtata, Cape Province, South Africa and died on 5th December 2013 in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa at the age of 95 years old. The cause of his death is due to respiratory infection. After his death, he was put to rest at Mandela Graveyard, Qunu, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Nelson Mandela has been proclaimed as the greatest and most influential leader in Africa, whose exemplary lifestyle and leadership quality is worth emulating. He was born into a royal family of Thembu in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. His great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was the king of the Thembu people in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa’s modern Eastern Cape Province. Nelson Mandela was his country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
He was an active member of African National Congress and South African Communist Party. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation. As an African nationalist and socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.
Nelson Mandela father name is Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa Mandela. He was a local chief and councilor to the monarch. He was later appointed to the position of a monarch in 1915, after his predecessor was accused of corruption by a governing white magistrate. In 1926, Nelson Mandela father, Gadla Henry Mandela was also sacked for corruption, but Nelson Mandela was told that his father had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate’s unreasonable demands.
Nelson Mandela father, Gadla Henry Mandela was a devotee of the gods Qamata and a polygamist with four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different villages. Nelson Mandela mother was the third wife of Gadla Henry Mandela, who goes by the name Nosekeni Fanny. She is also the daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a member of the amaMpemvu clan of the Xhosa.
During an interview, Nelson Mandela stated that his early life was dominated by traditional Thembu custom and taboo. According to him, he grew up with two sisters in his mother’s kraal in the village of Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy and spent much time outside with other boys.
According to him, both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was just about 7 years old. Nelson Mandela was later baptized in the Methodist school by the white clergymen and was given an English name “Nelson” by his school teacher. When Nelson Mandela was just about 9 years old, his father came to stay at Qunu, where he died of an undiagnosed ailment which Nelson Mandela believed to be lung disease.
During an interview, Nelson Mandela stated that he inherited his father’s “proud rebelliousness” and “stubborn sense of fairness”. At the age of 9 years old, Nelson Mandela mother took him to the “Great Place” palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted to the guardianship of the Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Nelson Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their son, Justice and their daughter, Nomafu.
Nelson Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians and Christianity became a significant part of his childhood life. Nelson Mandela attended a Methodist mission school which is located next to the palace, where he studied English, Xhosa, History and Geography. He later developed a passion and love for African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace, and was influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of a visiting chief, Joyi. At that time, Nelson Mandela considered the European colonialists not as oppressors but as benefactors who have brought education and other benefits to South Africans. At the age of 16 years old, Nelson Mandel and his step brother, Justice and several other boys travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo the ulwaluko circumcision ritual that symbolically marked their transition from boys to men. After which he was given the name Dalibunga.
Nelson Mandela has been described as a Xhosa. He was born to the Thembu royal family in Mvezo in South African. He studied law at the University of South Africa, University of Forte Hare and the University of the Witwatersrand and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and Doctorates Degree in Law. After his graduation from Law School, he worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg, South Africa. While in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943 and became the co-founding fathers of its Youth League in 1944.
The National Party which comprises of only white people were in control of the government and finally established apartheid, a system of racial segregation that privileged the whites and discriminate the blacks. Due to that atrocities committed by the National Party, Nelson Mandela and his party, African National Congress (ANC) committed themselves to overthrow the government. Nelson Mandela was later appointed as President of the African National Congress (ANC) Transvaal branch. He later rose to prominence after his involvement in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People.
Nelson Mandela was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the 1956 Treason Trial. After the unsuccessful trial of treason in court, Nelson Mandela was influenced by Marxism, he secretly joined the banned South African Communist Party (SACP). In 1961, he co-founded a militant group known as “Umkhonto We Sizwe” and led a sabotage campaign against the government.
In 1962, he was arrested for conspiring to overthrow the state and was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island and later in Pollsmoor Prison and later in Victor Verster Prison.
While in prison Nelson Mandela became a hero and a legend that fought for the freedom of the black from racism and racial segregation. While Nelson Mandela was in prison, there was chaos, growing domestic and international pressure all over the country and with fear of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 after serving 27 years in prison.
After his release from prison, Nelson Mandela and President de Klerk negotiated an end to apartheid and organized the 1994 multiracial general election in which Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC) party to victory and became the first black President of South Africa. After succeeding as President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela led a broad coalition government which promulgated a new constitution.
Nelson Mandela later emphasized reconciliation between the country’s racial groups and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. Economically, Nelson Mandela’s administration retained its predecessor’s liberal framework despite his own socialist beliefs, and also introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services.
Internationally, Nelson Mandela acted as mediator in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial and served as Secretary-General of the Non-Alignment Movement from 1998 to 1999. He declined a second presidential term and in 1999, he was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki as President of South Africa.
After retiring as President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela became an elder statesman and was highly respected in South Africa and several African countries. He was later proclaimed as the father of African Nation. Nelson Mandela after retiring as President of South Africa later focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through his charity organization “Nelson Mandela Foundation”.
Nelson Mandela was a controversial public figure all through his life. Although some critics on the right denounced him as a communist terrorist and those on the left deemed him too eager to negotiate and reconcile with apartheid’s supporters. Nelson Mandela later gained worldwide and international acclaim for his activism. He was widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice.
Nelson Mandela has received more than 250 honors and awards which include the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the highest honored personality and public figure in Africa. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name Madiba and described as the Father of the Nation.
In 1944, Nelson Mandela got married to Evelyn Mase. In 1958, he got married to Winnie Mandela. In 1998, he got married to Grace Machel. Nelson Mandela has many children, grand children and great-grand children. Some of his children’s names are Makaziwe Mandela-Amuah, Zenani Mandela, Zindziswa Mandela, Makgatho Mandela and Madiba Thembekile Mandela.
Unfortunately, Nelson Mandela died on 5th December 2013 in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa at the age of 95 years old. The cause of his death is due to respiratory infection. After his death, he was put to rest at Mandela Graveyard, Qunu, Eastern Cape, South Africa. His stature was built in different exotic locations and tourist venue in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela before his death was one of the richest and most influential personality and public figure in South Africa with an estimated net worth of $10 million.