Nelson Mandela was, without question, the most important leader in South African history, and he has acted as a symbol for equal civil rights worldwide. In this paper, I will provide you with a short biography about Mandela’s life, his presidency, and explain the impact he had on his country, and why it matters today.
Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in southern South Africa, to his father’s third out of four wives. (Aikman 70-71) The South Africa that Mandela was born into was prone by the rule known as apartheid, which was a powerful system of racial segregation that essentially denied Black and Colored people rights that applied to the White minority population.(The History of Apartheid in South Africa, Web)
Though he had twelve siblings, he was the first in his family to attend school, where his teacher gave him the English name ‘Nelson’. (Mandela 9) In his early adult years, he attended the University of Fort Hare in Alice where he became involved in the struggle against the apartheid practiced in South Africa. He was expelled, however, in 1940 for participating in a student demonstration. Four years later, he established the Youth League within the African National Congress (commonly known as the ANC), a multiracial nationalist movement that was dedicated to bring democratic political change in South Africa, and in 1951 he was elected its president. During his presidency of the organization, he opened the first black-owned law practice in South Africa, and organized its first military wing, in response to the government killing and arresting of the peaceful protests against the apartheid rule. (Boddy-Evans, Web)
It was these actions, however, that led to Mandela’s arrest in 1962. He was charged for treason and imprisoned at Robben Island. And there he sat for a huge chunk of his adult life – a...