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Nelson Mandela Essay

1007 words - 4 pages

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born on July 18, 1918 at the Mvesto in Transkei, South Africa, was a civil right activist, world leader and a writer. He became very involved in the anti-apartheid movement (“Nelson Mandela Biography”). Apartheid is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. Mandela is best known for becoming the first black president of South Africa from 1994 until 1999 (“Nelson Mandela Biography”). Nelson Mandela had a very positive influence, not only on his homeland country of South Africa, but also around the whole entire world.
The racial segregation in South Africa determined where a person could live, work and even attend school. It even determined who could vote and who could not; only whites were allowed to cast their ballots. Tribal homelands called Bantustans were set aside for a place where blacks could live since the majority of the country was reserved for whites (The Book of Knowledge). The apartheid in South Africa led to the formation of the African National Congress (ANC) and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) (“Nelson Mandela”). The ANC was a national liberation movement established in 1912 to unite black citizens and effect social, political, and economic change (“F.W. de Klerk”). The ANC adopted the ANCYL’s plan to achieve full citizenship for all South Africans through boycotts, strikes, civil disobediences, and other nonviolent methods (“Nelson Mandela”). In the 1950s, Mandela was arrested and imprisoned multiple times due to his involvement in the ANC. The Congress was outlawed in 1960 and went underground. While in hiding, Mandela became the leader in the struggle for majority rule (“Nelson Mandela (1918-)”).
On June 12, 1964, (“F.W. de Klerk”) Mandela was convicted of sabotage and plotting to overthrow the government. Sabotage is deliberately destroying or damaging something for a political advantage (“Nelson Mandela (1918-)”). During his trial, Mandela said, “I have fought against white domination. And I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (“Nelson Mandela (1918-)”). Mandela’s quote shows that he wants equality not only for blacks, but also whites, along with equal opportunities and no apartheid. In 1964, Mandela was sentenced for the remainder of his life (“Nelson Mandela (1918-)”). While in jail, Mandela became a symbol for lack of freedom in South Africa. The opposition to apartheid grew worldwide while South Africa and numerous other countries remained in favor of the racial segregation. (“Nelson Mandela (1918-)”).
On February 11, 1990, the threat of civil war combined with boycotts and diplomatic pressure on South Africa’s president, Frederik Willem de Klerk, forced him to release Mandela along with many...

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