Nelson Mandela: Biography

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May 072014

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela) was born at Qunu, near Umtata on 18th July 1918 in a royal family. His father was chief councilor to Thembuland’s acting chief David Dalindyebo and died in 1930 when he was 12 and his mother died in 1968 when he was in prison. He was given name Nelson when he attended primary school in Qunu by his teacher Miss Mdingane. After the dead of his father, Nelson Mandela was groomed for becoming chief of his local tribe. However, Mandela would never be able to make this commitment.

Nelson Mandela got Junior Certificate from Clarkeburry Boarding Institute and matriculated from Wesleyan Secondary School. He studied Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but he could not finish his degree because he was expelled for joining in a student protest. So, he completed his BA in the University of South Africa and again went back to Fort Hare for graduation in 1943.

Nelson Mandela studied LLB at the University of Witwatersrand but he could not complete his study due to poverty in 1952 and again started to study in University of London after his imprisonment in 1962 but not able to complete there too.

Nelson Mandela was the first South Africa’s chief executive and the elected in a fully representative democratic election. He also became the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Famous as: Anti-Apartheid Activist, President of ANC and Former President of South Africa

Born on: 18th July 1918

Born in: Qunu, Umtata, South Africa

Nationality: South African

Political Party: African National Congress (ANC)

Died on: 5th December 2013

Works and Achievements: Nobel Peace Prize (1993), Struggle Against the Apartheid Regime, Leadership of Civil Rights Movement in South Africa.

He joined Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand to study Law. Nelson Mandela became increasingly aware of the unjust nature of South African Society. The majority of Black South Africans had little opportunities either in Economic or Politics. Much to the disappointment of his family, Mandela became involved in politics. He joined the ANC and became involved in anti-colonial politics. He also became the founding member of ANC’s Youth League. And along with his good friend and comrade Oliver Tambo, he was expelled from Fort Hare for organizing a student strike. However, Mandela was able to finish his degree and qualified as a Lawyer. In 1952, Mandela and Tambo opened the first Black Law form in South Africa. The Transvaal Law Society tried to have it closed down, although this move was dispelled the ANC into more direct action such as the 1952 Defiance Campaign and later acts of sabotage.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

By the late 50s, the S.A. state had become increasingly repressive making it more difficult for the ANC to operate. Mandela had to resign from the ANC and work underground. In the late 50s, there was an extremely lengthy “Treason Trial” in which Mandela and several others were charged with treason. Conducting their own defense they eventually proved to be victorious. Mandela noted that in his autobiography the judiciary was one of the least repressive parts of the South African State and in theory sough to follow the rule of law.

However, in 1960, the Sharpeville massacre of 63 black South Africans changed the whole political climate. South Africa was increasingly isolated on the international scene and the government banned the ANC. This led Mandela to advocate armed struggle through the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

However, by 1962, Mandela had been arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in the notorious Robben Island prison, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. Life at the prison was tough and uncompromising. However, in his autobiography, Mandela reveals how he sought to make the best use of his time there. He helped to keep other Men’s spirits high and never compromised with his political principles even when offered early release. Towards the end of his prison spell, his treatment improved as the South African establishment increasingly looked to negotiation, in the face of international isolation.

Although negotiations were painfully slow and difficult, they eventually led to Mandela’s release in 1990. It was an emotional moment watched by millions around the globe.

The next 4 years were also difficult as South African society suffered inter cultural violence between ANC and Inkarta supporters, in addition to slow progress on a new constitution.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

However, on 10 May 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected State President of South Africa and remained in the post until June 1999. As president, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid (a political system prevailed in South African between 1948 to early 1990s that differentiate between the people living there and gave privileges to those people of European origin). His advocacy of reconciliation leads to international acclaim and importantly the trust of the White African population. Despite the initial euphoria of winning the election the ANC faced a difficult challenge to improve the lives of the black population. This was made more difficult by the HIV epidemic, which continued to cause grave problems. Nelson Mandela recently lost his eldest son to this disease and Mandela has worked hard to campaign on this issue.

Since retiring from office, Nelson Mandela has continued to be an international figure of great stature. He is one of the few politicians who have gone beyond a political role; he is widely admired and has received many prestigious awards. Nelson Mandela is also associated with many educational programmes and initiatives such as Make Poverty History Campaign.

List of Awards and Honors upon Nelson Mandela

  1. Bachelor of Arts degree from University of South Africa
  2. Elected as a Honorary President of the Student’s Union
  3. “Mandela Particle”, the name put after his name for the nuclear particle discovered by scientists.
  4. Got honorary life time membership of the Student’s Union
  5. Awarded Doctorate of Law from University of Lesotho
  6. Awarded with Jawaharlal Nehru Award
  7. The first UK road named in his honor “Mandela Close”
  8. Awarded Bruno Kreisky Award for merit in the field of human rights
  9. Elected Honorary Life President of the Student’s Union at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  10. Honorary Doctorate of Laws at City College of New York
  11. Awarded the order of Star of International Friendship in gold
  12. Awarded Simon Bolivar International Prize by UNESCO
  13. Elected Honorary Life President of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa
  14. Awarded the W.E.B. DuBois International Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people
  15. Awarded by International Peace and Freedom by the Workers International Centre
  16. Awarded the Cross of St. Andrew by Scotland
  17. Given honorary membership of the National Union of Teachers, United Kingdom
  18. Bestowed Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award
  19. Awarded Apostolic Humanitarian Award, Johannesburg
  20. Awarded J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, Washington, DC
  21. Awarded by Nobel Peace Prize
  22. Received Anne Frank medal for human rights and tolerance, Johannesburg
  23. Received Sheikh Yusuf Peace Award from the Muslim Women’s Federation
  24. Awarded the Arthur A Houghton Star Crystal Award
  25. Awarded Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award
  26. Received the Olympic Gold Order from International Olympic Committee President, Juan Antonio Samaranch
  27. Man of the Year Award from the Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Southern Africa
  28. Commonwealth Champion of Health medal
  29. Awarded Africa Peace Award
  30. Awarded Pretoria Press Club’s 1994 Newsmaker of the Year Award
  31. Harvard Business School Statesman of the Year Award
  32. Awarded honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  33. Awarded Indira Gandhi Award for International Justice and Harmony
  34. Awarded World Citizenship Award
  35. Awarded U Thant peace Award
  36. Mandela Family Museum
  37. Collar of the Nile by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt
  38. Received Congressional Gold Medal
  39. Awarded the Oneness-Peace Earth-Summit-Transcendence-Fragrance Award
  40. Awarded with Gold Medal of the City of Amsterdam
  41. Jesse Owens Global Award
  42. Awarded the Baker Institute Enron Prize
  43. Recorded as one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 1999, 2004, 2005
  44. Awarded SABS Gold Medal
  45. Awarded BT Ethnic Multicultural Media Award
  46. World Methodist Peace Award
  47. International Freedom Award
  48. International Gandhi Peace Prize
  49. Awarded the first King Shaka Award
  50. Awarded with Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award
  51. Awarded with Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom Medal
  52. Awarded with Presidential Medal of Freedom
  53. Awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal from Canada
  54. Named a Hero of Freedom by the Libertarian magazine
  55. British Red Cross Humanity Medal
  56. Awarded with Africa Elephant Award by the Africa Scout Region
  57. Awarded with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award
  58. Awarded the Giuseppe Motta Medal for support for Peace and democracy
  59. South African Red Cross Society Humanitarian Award
  60. Received the Order of the Smile
  61. Received the Order of Stara Planina First Class
  62. Received Arthur Ashe Courage Award
  63. Awarded with The BrandLaureate Hall of Fame-Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation
  64. Received the Canadian version of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  65. The Amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria was renamed the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.
  66. 9 meter high bronze statue of Mandela was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
  67. A plaque will be dedicated in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium to commemorate his 1990 visit.

1. Nelson Mandela
2. List of Awards and Honors upon Nelson Mandela

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