Release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and South Africa's State
Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994 and he
continued in this job until his retirement in 2000. Mandela was born
on the 18th July 1918. His real name was Rolihlahla that means
troublemaker, but because it was the thing to have a European name
(usually a heroic name) as well as a Xhosa one, he was also called
Nelson. He was the son of Chief Henry Gadla Mandela and Nosekeni.
Mandela was born into the royal family of the Thembu people. As a boy
Nelson and his three sisters lived in a group of whitewashed huts near
Umtata in the Transkei. He was part of a royal family. He then studied
for a degree at Fort Hare, a college for Africans in the Eastern Cape
but was suspended for taking part in a students strike. He was ordered
by his chief to stop and arrangements were made for Nelson to be
married. Nelson realised that he was being taught all the things that
would make him a chief and he did not want to rule the people so he
Nelson got a job as a policeman at a gold mine. He had to stand guard
the gate with a heavy stick and a whistle. He stayed there until the
chief's men tracked him down and then went on the run again. Nelson
met Walter Sisulu, from the Transkei. Sisulu who helped him out
financially and introduced him to a firm of lawyers. After passing his
law exams he set up a business with Oliver Tambo, and regularly wrote
articles about the injustices of apartheid. Nelson studied law. Nelson
fell in love with Evelyn Ntoko Mase who was Walter Sisulu's cousin.
They got married and went to live in Orlando, near Johannesburg.
Nelson had three children, two boys called Thembekile and Makgatho,
and a daughter Makaziwe. Nelson got more and more involved in the
political scene. He joined the African National Congress, which was
started in 1912 by four African lawyers to try and unite the African
people. Sisulu, Mandela and a man called Oliver Tambo decided to form
a youth league of the ANC which was more militant and used violence.
In 1948 the Afrikaner National Party came to power and enforced
At the ANC's annual conference in 1951 Mandela and Sisulu decided to
start countrywide non-violent defiance of some laws and Mandela was
voted National volunteer-in-chief. He went around the country talking
to the crowds and promoting the non-violent defiance campaign. He was
sent to prison in June 1952. Over the next few months lots of people
were put in jail, but the ANC numbers grew from 7000 to 100,000.
Mandela was one of the leaders tried under the Suppression of
Communism Act, and was given a suspended prison sentence of nine
months. A new law was passed so that the leaders organising protests
could be jailed for up to five years, or be fined up to £500, and
whipped. Mandela was...