Nelson Mandela

Sean Tierney

Life and Acomplishments

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela in the village of Mveso, Transkei on July 18 1918. He grew up in Apartheid South Africa and received a BA degree from The University of South Africa and University College at Fort Hare in 1943. Mandela joined the ANC in 1944 and became an active member. Shortly after, Mandela received a degree which allowed him to practice law so he established his own firm, the first black South African law firm, in 1952. In 1955, Mandela was arrested, but later acquitted, for his role in the ANC in 1955 and in 1960 he was detained as a part of the treason trials following the Sharpeville Massacre. Due to the rising tension between the government and activist groups, Mandela was tasked with creating the MK in 1961 which was the armed wing of the ANC. After 5 years in prison for leaving the country, Mandela and 10 others were arrested and charged for sabotage in what was known as the Rivonia Trial. Mandela was found guilty and being spared the death penalty, he faced life in prison. He and his comrades were eventually released in 1990 after the unbanning of the ANC and PAC. Mandela continued his active role in the anti-apartheid movement and in 1994 he became South Africa's first democratically elected president and he served 4 years. He died on December 5, 2013 in Johannesburg.

Significance to the Anti-Apartheid Movement

In his early years as a lawyer, Mandela helped many black South Africans with their legal issues–almost all of which stemmed from the apartheid system. When he joined the ANC he became an active leader and founding member of its Youth League. After continued loyalty he became the president of the 1955 Congress of the People and also the leader of the MK in 1961. After his imprisonment, he became the president of the ANC in 1991 and the first president of South Africa in 1994. Through these leadership roles, Mandela shaped the anti-apartheid movement as well as the building of a new South Africa.Despite his support of necessary violence through the Mk, his insistence upon and unwavering devotion to ideals of democracy and equality were the things that he used to build a new, peaceful South Africa following is presidential election. Because of his important leadership, Mandela is often referred to as Madiba or "Father of the Nation".
Nelson Mandela Speech after election as President


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  3. Nelson Mandela. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
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