Nelson Mandela

“It always seems impossible until it's done.”


*Born : 18 July 1918 in the small village of Mvezo

*He was one of thirteen children

*Nelson Mandela's father died in 1930

On 21 March 1960 at least 180 black Africans were injured and 69 killed when the South African police opened fire on approximately demonstrators.

In 1962 Nelson Mandela was smuggled out of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela was arrested and sentenced to five years for "incitement and illegally leaving the country".

On 11 July 1963 a raid was undertaken on Lilieslief farm in Rivonia, near Johannesburg, which was being used by the MK as headquarters. The remaining leadership of the MK was arrested. Nelson Mandela was included at trial with those arrested at Lilieslief and charged with over 200 counts of "sabotage, preparing for guerrilla warfare in SA, and for preparing an armed invasion of SA". Mandela was one of five (out of the ten defendants) at the Rivonia Trail to be given life sentences and sent to Robben Island. Two more were released, and the remaining three escaped custody and were smuggled out of the country.

At the end of his four hour statement to the court Nelson Mandela stated:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. 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."