The Life And Work Of Nelson Mandela

1562 words - 6 pages

The Life and Work of Nelson Mandela “The struggle is my life,” Nelson Mandela once said. And few lives
have been as full of struggle as his. Born in South Africa in 1918,
Mandela studied to become a lawyer. He then devoted his life to
fighting Apartheid, the official policy of racial segregation
practiced by the South African government. The Apartheid affected
every aspect of life in South America. A Black South African may have
had the same exact job as a White South African, but could have made
the less in an entire year that the White South African made in a
month. This inequality and perjury of justice greatly distressed
Nelson Mandela. His distinguishing characteristic, however, was his
commitment to non-violence. Though he was eventually forced to take
action, he stuck firmly to his policy of avoiding bloodshed at all
costs. His desire to escape violence stood out against the backdrop of
South African bloodshed, and though the government held him prisoner,
while the entire world protested, he felt no desire for revenge, only
justice.

In 1943, Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), initially
as an activist. The ANC was a political party, begun in 1912, founded
to protect and defend the rights of the black majority. They organized
peaceful protests, and passed documents arguing for the freedom and
equality of Black South Africans. Within the next one year, Mandela
and 2 of his close friends formed the Youth League of the ANC. In
1956, Mandela, along with 155 other political activists, were accused
of a conspiracy to violently overthrow the government, and charged
with high treason. However, the charges were dropped after a four-year
trial. In 1960, the government began to feel threatened by Mandela and
the ANC. The South African police opened fire on men women and
children who were protesting the new Pass Laws, which limited the
movement of Black South Africans. 69 people were killed, and the ANC
was banned, forcing Mandela to continue his work underground. It was
decided that the methods of non-violence they had used till this point
were not working. They adopted military tactics, which primarily
involved targeting and sabotaging the government's resources, still
with a strict philosophy of avoiding bloodshed at all costs.

In 1964, however, came the worst blow yet. Captured by the police
after more than a year on the run, Mandela was arrested and sentenced
to life imprisonment, on the charges of sabotage and high treason.

At first, the response was not as quick or as violent as expected,
though his wife, Winnie, was leading the campaign for his release. In
1981, however, a 17,000...

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