MEETING THE GREAT MAN
“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 needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in a royal family of a tribe in a South African village in Mvezo, Thembu.
Ever since he was a child, he would listen to the resistance war stories from his elders and dreamt with contributing to the cause of liberating his people. It was this way that he found the passion which, through the years, would transform into his goal and into his most important achievement.
In 1939, he joined Fort Hare, the only university for black South Africans, where he met the one who would be his friend and partner for the rest of his life: Oliver Tambo. Together, they started a boycott against the unfair policies against the black people inside the university grounds, which got them expelled.
"A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of."
Afterwards, he moved to Johannesburg and finished his studies in the Witwatersrand University, where he stated to get involved with the movement against the racial discrimination and began cultivating key relationships with black and white activists.
In 1944, Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) which at the time, was an authorized resistance movement established on January 8, 1912. The ANC seeked that all the Africans together, as one society, fight for their rights and liberties.
Even after spending 4 years with the ANC, Mandela’s commitment with social activism grew stronger in 1948, when a system, known as Apartheid, was established in South Africa.
Apartheid is an African word which means to separate, which restricted the basic rights of the black people, as it dictated that all Africa must’ve been classified according to a racial group, which determined where one could be born, raised, attend school, work, and even where to be buried. As a result, only banks could vote and have the best opportunities.
"I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles."
It was then that Oliver and him founded the ANCYL, which had as objective to claim a fair citizenship to all South Africans through boycotts, strikes, civil disobedience and other non-violent methods.
In 1952, Mandela helped direct the campaign known as “Challenge to the Unfair Laws” in which it was first publicly suggested that all the black people should reject the Apartheid. Madiba (as he was commonly known) ,and 50 thousand volunteers traveled all across country to organize the protests against the discriminatory laws and promoting the people’s...