Facts about Nelson Mandela Life

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“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”– Nelson Mandela

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. – Nelson Mandela.

These Iconic words have been uttered by Nelson Mandela who is  one of  the most revered revolutionary and politician from South Africa .His kind eyes, humble demeanor and his shock of white hair is known to generations all over the world. His fight against Apartheid and racial discrimination has inspired people all over the world. He remained South Africa’s president from 1994 to 1999 during which he campaigned against institutional racialism poverty and inequality. His charisma, self-deprecating sense of humor and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as well as his amazing and inspiring  life story, partly explain his global appeal. He is one of South Africa’s most influential and revered statesmen who led the struggle to replace the apartheid rule of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name of Madiba or as tata; he is often described as “the father of the nation”. Nelson Mandela lies in a critical condition in South Africa suffering from the latest bout of Lung Infection, as South Africa prepares for the worst.


10. Birth and Early Childhood

Birth and Early Childhood

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. Given the name Rolihlahla, a term meaning” pulling a branch of a tree” but more literally a “troublemaker”, he later came to be known as “Madiba”, a traditional clan name. Both his parents were devout Christians and sent him to a local Methodist school, where he came to be known as “ Nelson”, a name given to him by his schoolteacher, largely due to  bias British educational system in Africa .He was also one of the first in his family to have gone to school.

9.Home Town and Village

Home Town and Village

His father who was destined to be a chief lost his title and fortune over a dispute with local magistrate, forcing the family to move to Qunu, a small village north of mvezo. The village had no roads, only footpaths and the family lived in huts and ate maize, sorghum, pumpkin and beans, which was all they could afford. As a child Mandela played with young boys of his age, traditional games and made his toys using natural material available such as tree branches and clay. When Mandela was 9 years old, his father died of lung disease, changing his life forever. He later said he inherited his father’s “proud rebelliousness” and “stubborn sense of fairness”.

8. Early Education

.Early Education

He  was adopted by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, an acting regent of the Thembu people. He left his carefree life in Qunu and quickly adapted to the new, more sophisticated surroundings of Mqhekezweni. Mandela took classes in a one room school, studying English Xhosa history and geography. It was during this time he developed his interest in South African History and the oppression by the British.  Listening to the tales told by elderly visitors he became influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Chief Joyi. At the time he considered the British as benefactors, not oppressors.

7. Schooling and Degrees

Schooling and Degrees.

Mandela acquired a Bachelors in arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Fort Hare, one the prestigious and elite black institution in Alice, a town in south Africa. He currently holds the record of having honorary degrees from over 50 international universities. In his spare time, also studied to be a lawyer. His Alma maters include, University of London External System, University of South Africa and University of the Witwatersrand. He also got a bachelor of Law degree through a university of London correspondence program.

6. Imprisonment and Freedom

Imprisonment and Freedom

In Johannesburg, he became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, Mandela directed peaceful, nonviolent acts of defiance against the South African government and its racist policies .He was arrested in 1962 for inciting the workers to go on strike. He was imprisoned for 27 years in prison, many of which were spent on Robben Island. In prison he contracted tuberculosis and being a black prisoner received the lowest treatment. He was released in 1990 and petitions for his release were published in the Johannesburg Sunday post. A coordinated international campaign was also launched for his release which exemplifies the influence and support Mandela was beginning to gain the global political community.

5. Achievements


Mandela embarked on a world tour, visiting Margaret Thatcher, the U.S. Congress, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush. He as influenced by world figures like Karl Marx and Jawaharlal Nehru. He also founded the Mandela foundation, a charitable fund. Among his most noteworthy achievements has been the fight against AIDS. Mr. Mandela announced that his son had died of Aids, and urged South Africans to talk about Aids “to make it appear like a normal illness”. In 2004, at the age of 85, Mr. Mandela retired from public life to spend more time with his family and friends and engage in “quiet reflection”. He currently resides in his birth place.

4. Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards

He has been married 3 times and has 6 children. The former president has made few public appearances since retiring from public life. He has been treated in a hospital a number of times over the past two years but most recently he has been undergoing treatment for lung infection. He has been awarded over 250 awards and honors, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin. His other awards include Bharat Ratna Award, Nishan-e-Pakistan. Elizabeth II awarded him the Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John and the Order of Merit.

 3. Influences


South African banknotes feature his face .He has been an influence to political leaders all over the world. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu described Mandela as an “extraordinary Gift’, He has been called “the world’s most famous political prisoner” and “South Africa’s Great Black Hope.”. Famous Tennis Player Roger Federer cites Mandela as one of his influences.

 2. Artistic Tributes 

Artistic Tributes

Mandela has been depicted in cinema and television on multiple occasions. The 1997 film Mandela and de Klerk starred Sidney Poitier as Mandela, while Dennis Haysbert played him in Goodbye Bafana (2007), Morgan Freeman portrayed him in Invictus (2009). Many artists have dedicated songs to Mandela. One of the most popular was from The Special AKA who recorded the song “Free Nelson Mandela” in 1983, Stevie Wonder dedicated his 1985 Oscar for the song “I Just Called to Say I Love You” to Mandela resulting in his music being banned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Other artists who released songs or videos honoring Mandela are Johnny Clegg, Brenda Fassie, Nickelback and Beyond.

1. Legacy


Nelson Mandela remains one of the world’s leading political authority. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1993 for his work for world peace and his fight against Apartheid. Since stepping down as president 1999, he has become South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helped to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup. He is also known to have a mischievous sense of humor. The 14th Dalai Lama is a long-time friend of former president Nelson Mandela. His Favorite breakfast is Porridge with Fresh fruits and milk. One of his long term Hobbies has been Gardening.


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