Nelson Mandela LIFE STORY. List the difficulties for someone who cannot read or write?

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1 Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlala Mandela on the 18 th July Mandela s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a polygamist and had four wives. Mandela was the eldest and only son of his father s third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, but the youngest of his father s four sons. Mandela also had nine sisters. Mandela s family were descendants from the Royal family of the Thembu people, and although his family could not inherit any title from the royal line, Mandela s father was a highly respected chief and councillor within the community. However, in 1926, Mandela s father lost his position, apparently due to corruption and an abuse of his position and power. Throughout his childhood Mandela heard stories about his ancestors, and how they had stood up for their people against the white people who came to live in South Africa. It was through these stories that Mandela felt inspired to make his own contribution to the country and make a difference. When he was 7 years old Mandela was sent to school by his mother, which was where he was christened with the name Nelson by his teacher. Coming from an illiterate family, it was here that he learned to read and write. List the difficulties for someone who cannot read or write? Page 1

2 Unfortunately, in the year 1930, at 12 years old, Mandela s father passed away. After his father s death, Mandela was taken in by Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the king of the Thembu people. He was raised alongside his two cousins and treated like Jongintaba s own son. In 1937, Mandela left his home and started studying Law at the University College of Fort Hare. It was during this time that Mandela s interest in politics began to grow, and was consequently expelled from the university after participating in a student protest. He eventually completed his degree at the University of South Africa. Upon returning home, Mandela discovered that Jongintaba had arranged marriages for both him and his cousin, Justice. Both Mandela and his cousin refused to accept their marriages, and instead chose to run away to Johannesburg and start to make a living for themselves. For his first year in Johannesburg, Mandela worked as a security guard for a mining company, but then, after qualifying, he was able to find a job and start working as a lawyer. Ten years later, in 1952, Mandela and his friend Oliver Tambo started up South Africa s first black law firm, named Mandela and Tambo. What was the significance of the first black law firm in South Africa? Page 2

3 His interests in politics continuously grew and in 1944 Mandela joined the African National Congress party (ANC). This party promoted equal rights for the black people of South Africa, where they were being persecuted by various laws which privileged the white people of the country. It was around this time that Mandela met his first wife, Evelyn Mase. Mandela and Evelyn were both active members of the ANC and for a long time their ideals suited each other. However, after becoming a Jehovah Witness, Evelyn s political stance digressed, while Mandela s continued to strengthen. In 1955 Mandela and Evelyn separated, and eventually divorced in They had 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Throughout his first marriage, Mandela s political endeavours began to grow. This started in 1947, when Mandela helped to set up the ANC Youth League, which aimed to reach out to the younger generation of South Africa. Mandela s status and influence within the ANC began to grow and the ANC began to adopt a more radical policy, which was called the Programme of Action. Page 3

4 Five years later, in 1952, Mandela was appointed as the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the ANC s Defiance campaign. This movement within the party was in protest of 6 unjust laws, which segregated the white and black community. This was a very hard and distressing time for the black community within South Africa. They were made to feel inferior, stripped of their citizenship and were not allowed to use the same entrances and exits, seats and public services as white people. In consequence of this protest, and alongside 19 others, Mandela was charged with 9 months of hard labour under the Suppression of Communism Act. However, the sentence was suspended for 2 years. How would you feel if you were treated differently to the people around you? In 1955, around the time that Mandela and Evelyn were separating, Mandela was arrested, which lead to The Treason Trial of This trial went on for 5 years until the last 28, which included Mandela, were acquitted on 29 th March During this time, Mandela went on to marry his second wife, Winnie Madikizela. They had two daughters and divorced in Page 4

5 A factor that went into prolonging this trial occurred in 1960, when 69 unarmed protesters were killed by police. Nelson Mandela was detained and this event led to South Africa s first state of emergency; on the 8 th April 1960, the apartheid government banned the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress from parliament. In 1961, Mandela started to plan a strike in protest of South Africa from becoming a republic. In June of that same year, Mandela started up the Spear of the Nation, which was the ANC s armed wing. The Spear of the Nation was responsible for various bombings, tortures and killings of African people, marking a very controversial shadow within Mandela s life. Was Nelson Mandela wrong to sanction bombings, torture and killings? Why? On the 11 th January 1962, Mandela left South Africa under a false identity, travelling over Africa and into the UK so as to gain support for his cause. He returned in July and a month later, on the 5 th August, he was arrested, charged with illegally leaving the country and encouraging workers to strike. He was sentenced to prison for 5 years. Page 5

6 Following this arrest, a year later in 1963, Mandela was put on trial for sabotage, and was facing the death penalty. The trial finished in 1964, and led to imprisonment for life. He was placed in a small cell, with only a bucket for a toilet and no bed. Every day he worked in a quarry, was only allowed one visitor a year and could only write and receive one letter every six months. Shortly after his imprisonment both Mandela s mother and eldest son died. He was not allowed to attend their funerals. Around 20 years after his imprisonment, 1985 saw Mandela out of prison due a need of surgery. While still a prisoner, during this time he was visited by the Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee. These meetings saw Mandela negotiating with Coetsee on behalf of the ANC in an attempt to set up meetings between them and the current government. Was Nelson Mandela s imprisonment just or not? Why? Three years later, in 1988, after recovering from tuberculosis, Mandela was sent a confined house, which was where he was to spend the remainder of his imprisonment. Throughout this time relations between the ANC and the government had improved. Page 6

7 The 11 th February 1990 saw South Africa s President, FW de Klerk, releasing Mandela from his sentence, and unbanning the ANC and the PAC from parliament. A year later, in 1991, Mandela became the leader of the ANC. Although the official abolition of apartheid occurred in 1991, with repeal of the last of the remaining apartheid laws, non-whites were not allowed to vote until 1993 and the end of apartheid is widely regarded as arising from the 1994 democratic general elections. Through working in co-operation with FW de Klerk, both men were awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in This had a positive impact on Mandela and the ANC, and in 1994 he was democratically elected as South Africa s President. Just as he promised, he remained in office for one term, before stepping down in Two years into his presidency, Mandela and his second wife separated. He married his third wife, Graça Machel, on his 80 th birthday in 1998, and remained so until his death on the 5th December Nelson Mandela s story has left a lasting legacy, not only upon the people of South Africa, but upon the whole world. It is a story of inspiration, of hope and determination, and one that will be passed on in generations to come. Having read about the life of Nelson Mandela read his famous quotes and the Declaration of Human Rights. Page 7

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