He was buried in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape. Generally, when most people think of a prominent figure in South Africa, one name that always comes to our mind is, Nelson Mandela. I’m sure, just about everyone has heard the name Nelson Mandela once in their lifetime before, but who exactly is he? What has he done? Why is he so important? Well, no doubt Nelson Mandela is a very significance man. Like everyone else, I have heard of Nelson Mandela over the years but never knew who he really was.
In researching about him, I have discovered that he is a peace activist and freedom fighter and also a true man to be reckon with his contributions to the world which he has fought against segregation in his home country, Africa, and has affected the entire world today and tomorrow. His courageous journey has made him a true hero of his day, and to generations following. Everything that Mandela has done everything that he’s been through, and everything that he’s said has made an impact on the world.
It is astonishing how Mandela has accomplished his mission to change the world, and his struggles through segregation, prisons, and life have rewarded him with fame all across the world. He has and will be always known as a hero in the war of segregation and racism throughout the ages, and his story will beyond doubt be told time and time again. It is undoubtedly that Nelson Mandela was and will always be the most important leader in South African history.
He has also acted as a symbol for equal civil rights in the whole world and through these, I had admired his willpower which is to stand up for ourselves even if it drastically affects our life. As mentioned earlier, I spend a good fraction of my research reading about Nelson Mandela and the ANC. Staying in a multiracial country where the relationship between multi-racial society which includes the Malays, Chinese and Indians are so close and they all form a close-knit community that doesn’t discriminate people by their skin color. So, “Excuse me sir, may I see your pass?
Means very little to me compare to all the black South African. These words struck fear in the hearts of black South Africans during the times of apartheid. While apartheid was being practiced, blacks were restricted with the facilities they could use, restricted in the jobs they could hold, as well as the places they could be, and all blacks had to carry passes for identification purposes. If the passes were not in order, the carrier was subject to arrest. Through these terrifying times, one man raised above all the rest in the effort to battle this terrible practice of apartheid.
The man was none other than Nelson Mandela, a man who was so dedicated to the cause of the downfall of apartheid that he was willing to spend twenty-seven years of his live in prison for the cause. Being born into one of the most miscellaneous areas of Africa, Qunu, which was located in the Transkei territory of South Africa, Nelson Mandela had witnessed firsthand discrimination against the black Africans. His father was the head of their clan, and was frequently fighting for the rights of blacks in that area of South Africa as well.
Mandela was conditioned from a young age to be a figure of great impact to his people. Even as a child, Mandela was groomed by the Paramount Chief of his tribe to eventually hold a position of leadership from his upbringing. Being in the leadership, Mandela was taught a strict work ethic, and learned the value of dedication. Obviously, this dedication served Mandela well in his attempt to impact the lives of his people. Imagine growing up in a country where drinking out of the wrong water fountain might get you thrown into jail.
Where a man might have the very same job as his neighbor, but because of the color of his skin get paid less in a year than the other man made in a week. Even the government told you that your ancestors and their ways of living were wrong and savage and not even human. Sounds like some revolutionary film, doesn’t it? Well, for Nelson Mandela, this was no movie. Growing up in South Africa under the apartheid system of government meant these things, and worst, were part of his daily life. It was these sufferings of his people that encouraged him to become a lawyer.
Mandela had gone to many different universities to study Law, even going outside of the country at times. After finishing law school Mandela, was admitted to the African National Congress, also known as the ANC, which had the main goal of giving more rights to the black South African people. After joining the ANC, Mandela slowly turn South Africa into a racially equal nation. He was a fighter, instead of bowing down to this unjust system of government, he became a lifelong warrior in the conflict to free South Africa.
He did that by playing a part in many dramatic demonstrations against the white-ruled government. As the years passed by, the movement against segregation and apartheid grew stronger and stronger when new laws limiting the freedom of black people in South Africa even more were passed. In 1960, South African officials shut down the African National Congress. Furious, Mandela proposed a plan to form a small army to reprove the government with violent military exercises. This small force became known as “Umkhonto we Sizwe” – “Spear of the Nation”.
Spear was formed to combat, by using violent methods, the ruthless repression by the government. Mandela believed, as the Spear of the Nation manifesto stated: The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight. That time has now come for South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power, in defense of our people, our future and our freedom. Spears main target was the power plants, railways and telephone lines and it was critical to the country’s economy.
Besides that, this organization also enforced strict rules against injuring or killing anyone. By now, Mandela was working underground and the most difficult part from this decision is to abandone his family. When he left he said that he will be going for a long time. Fortunately, after complicated arrangements, Mandela was able to see his wife, Winnie and sometimes the children. Those times would come without any warning. Winnie will be told to get in a car. Then a while later, another car will take over and after ten cars, that will the moment she will be with her husband.
All this was cut short and Mandela’s luck ran out. On August 5, 1962, after being a fugitive for nearly eighteen months, Nelson Mandela was captured. He was convicted with sabotage and was sent to prison for five years. All this happen because Mandela was betrayed by informers who found Verwoerd government’s bonuses were so hard to resist and they also paid well. The next year, many fellow leaders of the African National Congress and the Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested and put on trial. The year after, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison with eight other leaders that were on trial.
But, despite the fact that he might never see a view other than from his jail cell again, Mandela didn’t let that “small” setback bring him down on his mission or his effort to stop apartheid. Although Mandela was broken off from the rest of the world in prison, he gained more and more fame during this time. Many youths in South Africa joined in on the fight against segregation, and Mandela was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a powerful symbol of resistance.
Many people began to support Mandela’s policies to stop apartheid in South Africa, and his former business partner Oliver Tambo organized a campaign to release Mandela from prison. Many people supported this effort to release Mandela, and the pressure was on. Eventually, in early February 1990, de Klerk the president of South Africa made the long-awaited announcement that the government would be releasing Mandela within days. He said; I am now in a position to announce that Mr. Nelson Mandela will be released at the Victor Verster Prison.
We would all like Mr. Mandels’s release to take place in a dignified and orderly manner. The news conference announcing that Mandela would be released was seen live throughout the world. At 4. 15 P. M, Sunday, February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison for the first time in ten thousand days. He was seventy-one years old. Not only the release that brought joy to the people, indeed the African National Congress was up and running again which means it is operating legally now.
In addition to that, Mandela had brought himself back up out of the darkness and was giving new light and hopes to the people of South Africa who stood by him sinc Three years later, Mandela was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his heroic fight in the war of segregation. The year after, in 1994, Mandela was unanimously voted as president in the new democracy of South Africa. This was the first time in the history of South Africa where all races were allowed to vote together in a diverse election together, in harmony.
He had finally accomplished his goal of getting rid of apartheid in South Africa, and left his footprint while doing so. His mission was finally accomplished. Many things have changed in South Africa and around the world in Nelson Mandela’s long lifetime, and still will. He has had quite a ride in his life which includes being jailed for almost thirty years and then becoming one of the most popular presidents in South Africa, but despite all that, Mandela’s changing actions have led the world a step closer into the light, and away from the darkness of racism and hostility.
It’s astonishing how one man could pull of so much in one lifetime, but he somehow made his dreams of defeating apartheid once and for all into a reality. He is known as a true hero, and fought against many “villains” in his life in order to bring justice to everyone. He accomplished his mission to get rid of segregation in South Africa with flying colors, and made an impact not only to people in South Africa but to everyone around the world. His journey that took him down to the depths of darkness and brought him to the highest peaks of honor has inspired people for decades.
The most important aspect that has to take into account is that when Mandela makes his audience aware of his dedication to the freedom struggle by saying, “You can see that there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desire”. This quote comes from Mandela’s address to the ANC Transvaal Congress in 1953, and shows the dedication he was willing to put forth to the freedom struggle.
It was because of this dedication that Mandela was able to unite the people in a fight for freedom, and eventually bringing apartheid and the government of the National Party to an end. To conclude this, I would like to evaluate the impact Mandela, had on people around the world. To do so, I will explain about what I have learned from Nelson Mandela while doing my research. While researching Mandela, I came across a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the quote said, “I will stand here for humanity”. I think this quote is an admirable explanation of how I view Nelson Mandela as a person.
This is because, Mandela’s handwork to overturn apartheid can really be admired by all of humanity, not just because he was dedicated to put an end to an evil system, but because of the manner in which he did so. Besides that, another important aspect that I have learned was the fact that Mandela was against racism of any kind, and he was not just concerned about his own people. There is one particularly quote which I found to be very heartbreaking has it shows the way how Mandela explains about his effort to end racism.
The quote says, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity”. This dedication to democracy and loving your fellow man is something that I believe should be applied throughout the world. None of Mandela’s goals would have been accomplished if it were not for Mandela’s aforementioned dedication, as well as his readiness to sacrifice.
These are the qualities for which Mandela must be greatly admired. For those throughout the world fighting for cruelty, Mandela can serve as an example of the action necessary to triumph in struggle. Because of his democratic attitude as well as his determination, I believe that Nelson Mandela truly does stand here on earth for humanity, as an example of what we should all make every effort for. Today, thanks to the unselfishness of Nelson Mandela, apartheid has been banned. This shows that everyone in South Africa has an equal opportunity at home and at work to have a comfortable and productive life.
He is destined to take place in history as a leader of profound, unlimited determination, integrity, true compassion as well as unshakeable faith that people can reason with each other to settle the differences that kept them apart all these years. In a nutshell, Nelson Mandela is one of the world’s true freedom fighters where his life as well as his personal triumphs will always be remembered long after the world has forgotten the evils of apartheid.