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Nelson Mandela - life and deeds

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, OM (Qunu, Transkei, July 18, 1918) was the first President of South Africa after the end of apartheid. Long a leader of the anti-apartheid movement, also he organised acts of sabotage and guerrilla. In 1993 he received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Segregated and imprisoned for many years during the pro-apartheid South African governments before the 90s, is now universally regarded as a heroic freedom fighter. The name Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of his family members, has become synonymous with Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Political Activity as a young law student, Mandela became involved in opposition to the minority regime in South Africa, which denied political rights, social and civil rights to the black majority in South Africa.

In 1942 he joined the African National Congress in the fight against the apartheid policy of racial segregation that is established by the government of white ethnicity of Dutch origin in South Africa and remained in force until 1993.

Apartheid was adopted in 1948 after the electoral victory of the Nationalist Party of South Africa (NP). The apartheid laws classified citizens into three main racial groups: white, Bantu (African blacks) and coloured (people with mixed ancestry). It was later introduced a fourth category for Asians (Indians and Pakistanis). The laws prescribed the places where each group could live, what kind of work could exercise and what kind of school system could be accessed. The laws prohibiting almost all interracial relationships, instituted separate public places (eg, reserving a few beaches to whites) and excluded non-whites from all forms of political representation. The opponents of apartheid were prosecuted and the government escalated its policy of repression to transform South Africa into a police state. The racial segregation was opposed by the African National Congress (ANC), founded in 1912 by blacks. After strikes against apartheid that culminated in the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960, the government banned all political organizations including the ANC black.

On July 1963 ANC leaders at the Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia. Mandela was considered to be among the leaders, and at the Rivonia trial, along with Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaled, Walter Mkwayi (escaped during trial), Arthur Goldreich (escaped from prison before process), Dennis Goldberg and Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein. Mandela was accused of sabotage and other crimes equivalent to treason (easier for the government to prove). Joel Joffe, Arthur Chaskalson and George Bizos were part of the defence team that represented the accused. All except Rusty Bernstein were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment on 12 June 1964. The indictment included the involvement in the organisation of armed action, in particular sabotage and conspiracy for trying to help other countries invade South Africa. Mandela remains in jail on Robben Island, until 11 February 1990. In prison he lived a hard and difficult life but always trying in some way to stay in contact with external reality.

For the next 26 years Mandela was increasingly involved in opposition to apartheid, and the slogan “Free Nelson Mandela” became the cry of all the anti-apartheid campaign of the World. While in prison, Mandela was able to send an ANC manifesto, published on June 10, 1980. He refused the probation offered in exchange oh the end of the armed opposition.

When he became a free citizen, was ANC president and president of the ANC (July 1991 - December 1997).

In 1990 the new president Frederick de Klerk officially revoked the ban on the ANC and released thirty years of its leader, Nelson Mandela. In 1993 was reached and signed by Mandela and De Klerk agreement on the South Africa transition to democracy.

In the first free elections in 1994 Mandela became the first black president in the history of South Africa at the head of a coalition government that included the National Party.

De Klerk was appointed vice president. As president, (May 1994 - June 1999), Mandela presided over the transition from the old regime based on apartheid to democracy, earning the respect of the world for its support to national and international reconciliation.

On 10 December 1993, the South African president FW de Klerk and African National Congress president Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Prize for Peace for their contribution in favor of racial harmony in South Africa.

Some radical exponents were disappointed by the failed social achievements during the period of his government, as well as the inability of the government to respond effectively to the spread of HIV / AIDS in the country. Mandela himself admitted, after his discharge, he might have made a mistake in calculating the possible dangers posed by the spread of AIDS. Mandela was also criticised for his close friendship with Fidel Castro and Moammar Al Qadhafi, whom he called “comrades in arms.” Even the decision to commit South African troops to oppose the coup of 1998 in Lesotho remains a controversial choice. Mandela has been married 3 times. His first wife was Evelyn Mase Ntoko whom he divorced in 1957 after 13 years of marriage. His second marriage to Winnie Madikizela ended in separation (April 1992) and the final divorce in March 1996), fuelled by strong political disagreements. At eighty, Mandela and Graça Machel married, widow of Samora Machel, Mozambique's founding President and ANC ally who died in a plane crash 15 years earlier. Withdrawal from political life after leaving the office of President in 1999, Mandela has continued its commitment and action to support organisations for social rights, civil and human rights. He has received numerous honours, including the Order of St. John by Queen Elizabeth II and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush. Mandela is one of two people of non-Indian origin (Mother Teresa is the other) to have received the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India (in 1990). As evidence of his fame should mention the 1998 visit to Canada, during which the Skydome in Toronto spoke at a news conference to 45,000 students who greeted him with intense applause. In 2001 he received the Order of Canada, and was the first foreigner to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. In June 2004, at age 85, Mandela announced that he was retiring from public life and want to spend as much time as possible with his family, until health conditions would grant it to him. He made an exception, however, in July 2004, confirming its long-term commitment to the fight against AIDS, going to Bangkok to speak at the XV International AIDS Conference. On 23 July 2004, with a ceremony in Orlando, Soweto, the city of Johannesburg, he was awarded the highest honour the city, the “Freedom of the City”, comparable to handing over the keys of the city.

Thursday, December 7, at the age of 96 years Mandela died. We will remember him as one of the greatest statesmen of our time, an advocate of peace and liberty, and the funeral were the most important heads of state of the world, as well as a lot of common people. It will remain its businesses and its called Goodfellas, including: “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.”

Sociology | People


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