Nelson Mandela biographyNelson Mandela’s name is synonymous with freedom. It ranks equally with the names of Gandhi, Patrice Lumumba, and Angela Davis. After spending a quarter of their life in prison, he did not change his beliefs and became the first black president of his country.
Early yearsNelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, on the east coast of South Africa, in the village of Mvezo neighboring Umtata. The politician’s father, Gadla Mandela, was the head of the village and belonged to the youngest branch of the ruling Eastern Cape dynasty, speaking the Xhosa language. In the course of disagreements with the colonial government, the head of the family was deprived of his position and, together with his wives and children, resettled in the neighboring village.
Nelson was one of thirteen children, who was given birth by the chief’s third wife and received the name Rolihlahla, meaning “troublemaker”. It was difficult for the teachers of the Methodist school to pronounce the African names of the children, so each of them received an English name. Little Rolihlahla was given the name Nelson by his teacher.
At university, Nelson studied with Jongintaba’s son, studying the humanities. Dissatisfaction with the existing order acquired protest forms after meeting with the student Oliver Tambo. Young people took part in anti-government speeches, for which they were expelled from the university in 1940.
Formation of political viewsThe news that Jongintaba arranged marriage for Nelson led to the fact that the young man fled to Johannesburg and got a watchman job, but soon he became reconciled with his guardian, and he paid for his studies at Witwatersrand University. Jongintaba cherished the hope that Nelson would receive a law degree and become his associate, as Gadla Mandela was.
The beginning of the creation of bantustans, reservations for the indigenous people, which restricted the rights of representatives of the indigenous peoples of South Africa, and the flourishing of the apartheid policy led to mass protests but had no effect on the policies of the authorities.
Violence in response to violenceAs a supporter of Gandhi ideas, Mandela spoke out against the use of violence until the early 60s, but the incident, called the Sharpeville shooting, influenced the change of his political concept.
In response to the shooting of peaceful civilians, the radical-minded Slovo and Schwartz created an ANC militarized branch, which was proposed to be led by Nelson. The group consisted of the most physically trained members of the ANC and envisaged guerrilla methods of struggle. For two years in large towns and cities, the Spear of the Nation grouping conducted about 200 sabotages at government offices, post offices, banks, and crowded places, which led to the death of hundreds of people. ANC policy was censured by all countries, and Margaret Thatcher called Mandela No. 1 terrorist.
In the spring of 1964, the militant activists of the ANC and Nelson Mandela were convicted of committing sabotage terrorist acts and the use of tactical weapons against peaceful civilians and sentenced to death, but in April 1964 the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
Prisoner of conscienceFrom 1964 to 1982, the “black bomber” was kept at the establishment on Robben Island, where he was a cartographer, which allowed him to freely move around the island and even live in a staff cottage. Mandela was engaged in writing books and political manifestos, as well as in education. He was finally able to get a bachelor’s degree in the field of jurisprudence.
At the end of the 70s, the liberation movement for Mandela’s freedom reached a truly universal scale, which was promoted by the competent policy of Slovo and Schwartz, who spread information that he was kept in solitary confinement, was engaged in slave labor for most of the day, and his daily diet was half the diet of a white prisoner.
President of South AfricaIn 1991, Mandela was elected President of the African National Congress. Mandela’s speeches of that period contained a veiled call to fight and are more addressed to the government. The leaders of many countries negatively reacted to the release of the freedom fighter, but President de Klerk managed to maintain a shaky balance of power, which had a favorable effect on the internal situation in the country and served as a pretext for awarding Mandela - de Klerk tandem the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nelson Mandela's personal lifeMandela’s first wife was Evelyn Mase, the marriage with whom lasted from 1944 to 1958. Evelyn presented her husband with four children: Madiba, the eldest son died during Mandela’s imprisonment, his second son, Makgatho died of AIDS in 2005, and the daughter Makaziwe died in infancy. Pumla Makaziwe Mandela, born in 1954, served as secretary and biographer of her father until his death.
Mandela’s second chosen one was his ANC associate, Winnie Madikizela, who gave birth to her daughters Zenani and Zindzi. Mandela met twenty-year-old Vinnie in Johannesburg, where she came from Bizana to enter the University, but instead became a member of the ANC. During the imprisonment, Vinnie supported her husband, who, after becoming president, appointed her to an executive position in Congress, but soon had to dismiss her after learning of Vinnie’s adulteries and her crimes.