I’d heard of him as a teenager, but since politics wasn’t discussed in our house, I didn’t get to know much about Nelson Mandela until my mid-twenties. All that I knew of him at the time was that he was a lawyer and an activist. Somewhere along the way, I learned that he was a prisoner for helping his people in South Africa. I began researching him and learned that in South Africa, life for blacks was just as bad, if not worse, than life for blacks in the US. His acts of defiance often left him banned from certain areas and jailed in others. Nelson Mandela’s struggles for freedom for blacks’ rights were not often peaceful protests. His involvement in the ANC and with Communists often meant bloodshed on the road to freedom. He was imprisoned from 1964 until his release in 1990. After this time, his work to end Apartheid was met with International support. He was elected President of South Africa in 1994. Although I didn’t always agree with his and the ANC’s tactics, what I admired most about him was his desire to see everyone in South Africa live peacefully side by side, the whites and the blacks. This influenced my own beliefs that we should all be free people, everywhere and live in peace. Here are a few of my favorite Nelson Mandela quotes:
Here is a documentary showing the struggles of South Africa and Nelson Mandela:
Interesting facts: Mandela was friends with such leaders as Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi and Suharto. He was often called a Communist, even though he considered himself a Nationalist and supported a constitutional democracy. Mandela was awarded the The Nobel Peace prize in 1993.