Biography of Nelson Mandela | Activist and politician.

(Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela;) Mvezo, Transkei, 1918 - Johannesburg, 2013) activist and South African politician who led movements against apartheid and who, after a long struggle and 27 years in prison, the first Government which put an end to the racist regime presided over in 1994. The 20th century left two world wars, concentration camps and Atomic dread, but also great champions of the fight against injustice, as Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King. The last and most charismatic of them was Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela
Like that of any African child in rural areas, the Nelson Mandela childhood was spent between games and in close contact with the traditions of his people. Son of the Chief of a tribe, stood you up name Rolihlahla, which means naughty, but at the age of seven, so he could attend the Methodist school, was baptized with the name of Nelson in the Transkei Church; now famous, his compatriots call it Madiba, his clan name. Two years later, because of the death of his father, the small Nelson was left in the care of his cousin, the big boss Jongintaba; with the one who is devoted to listening to tribal chiefs and became aware of the sense of Justice.
Age sixteen, it became part of the tribal Council; three years later, in 1937, he entered the boarding school for blacks of Ford Hare to pursue higher studies. But in 1941 when they learned that Chief Jongintaba had arranged a marriage for him, Mandela decided to leave their village and left for Johannesburg. Poorly established in the crowded suburb of Alexandra, shortly after arriving he met Walter Sisulu, who locked a friendship that would be decisive in all areas: he influenced his political ideas, helped him get a job and finish his law studies and introduced him to his cousin Evelyn Mase, to contract marriage in 1944.
A born leader
Both Walter Sisulu and the myriad of people who had contact with Mandela throughout his life agree your extraordinary personality. The power of seduction, the self-confidence, the ability to work, courage and integrity are among the virtues that shone beyond where should be. Sisulu immediately captured his innate skills as leader and introduced it in the African National Congress (ANC), a movement of struggle against oppression that for decades suffering came from South African blacks. Soon his qualities would located it in prominent positions of the organization. In 1944, Mandela was one of the leading founders of the League of the Youth Congress, that would constitute the dominant group of the African National Congress; its ideology was an African socialism: nationalist, antiracist and anti-imperialist.
In 1948 he came to power the national party, which institutionalized racial segregation creating the apartheidregime in South Africa. Indeed, institutional racism is back in South Africa at least to 1911, date of a discriminatory provision prohibiting Blacks from skilled jobs. Many measures enacted in the following decades (36 in total) had been already, for example only, to the exclusion of blacks and mestizos from the electoral roll.
The victory of the national party of the Afrikaaners (white descendants of the boers Dutch who colonized the country) came to corroborate and extend what already exists without euphemisms: the Government of Daniel Malan (1948-1954) rose a full system of segregation and social, economic, cultural, political and territorial discrimination against the black majority; It was called apartheid or "separate development of each race in the geographical area that is assigned to it", according to the official definition. The following Governments, presided over by Strijdom and Verwoerd, continued identical policy. A 1949 Decree forbade Intermarriage; other legislation and subsequent regulations finished configuring the segregationist system: official recognition of the races, segregation at the time of use of services (including the space of beaches) and separation in the factories and on public transport.
Under the inspiration of Gandhi, the African National Congress advocated non-violent methods of struggle: the League of youth of the Congress (chaired by Mandela in 1951-1952) organized campaigns of civil disobedience against the segregationist laws. In 1952, Mandela went to preside over the Federation of the African National Congress of the South African province of Transvaal, at the time led by volunteers who challenged the regime; He had become the leader in fact movement.

Mandela and Winnie on the day of your wedding (1958)
Repression produced 8,000 arrests, including that of Mandela, who was confined in Johannesburg. There he established the first black South Africa law firm. Had gradually been abandoning his Africanist stance and adopted the ideology of internationalist humanism that would hold all his life. In 1955, fulfilled their sentences, reappeared in public, promoting the adoption of a Charter of freedom, which is embodied the aspiration of a multiracial, egalitarian and democratic State, land reform and a policy of social justice in the distribution of wealth. In those years another woman broke out with force in his life: the social worker Nomzano Winnie Madikizela, best known as Winnie Mandela, that he married in 1958.
The exacerbation of the apartheid
The hardening of the racist regime reached its culmination in 1956, with the plan of the Government to create seven reservations or Bantustans, supposedly independent marginal territories in which it was intended to confine to the black majority, representing more than seventy percent of the population. Such as entailed condemning blacks not only to marginalization, but also to the misery: those lands could not offer a means of life because they would be too populated so that agriculture could feed them, or that their industries should give work to all. Moreover, the white power would never be interested in creating any important industries in such reserves by the danger that would be competitive with respect to the white areas of the Republic.
The ANC responded with demonstrations and boycotts that led to the arrest of most of their leaders; Mandela was accused of high treason, tried and released for lack of evidence in 1961. The killing of Sharpeville, in which police opened fire on an unarmed crowd protesting against the racist laws, killing 69 demonstrators (1960) took place during the long trial. The killing advised the Government to declare a State of emergency, in virtue of which the black opposition leaders arrested: Mandela was detained several months without trial.
Those events ended up convincing the leaders of the African National Congress's inability to continue fighting for non-violent methods, which do not weakened the regime and that elicited an equally bloody repression. In 1961, Mandela was elected Honorary Secretary of the Congress of national action in all Africa, a new underground movement adopted the sabotage as a means of struggle against the regime of the newly proclaimed Republic of South Africa; He was also responsible for directing the armed wing of the African National Congress (the Spear of the nation). Its strategy focused on attacking facilities of economic significance or symbolic value, excluding threaten human lives.

Mandela in prison, shortly before its release
In 1962 he travelled to various African countries raising funds, receiving military training and making propaganda of the South African cause; on his return, Mandela was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. While he was still in prison, he was one of the eight leaders of the Spear of the nation declared guilty of sabotage, treachery and violent conspiracy to overthrow the Government in the trial of Rivonia (1963-1964), whose district went to judges a famous plea final, full of strength and drama, that did not prevent that you were sentenced to life imprisonment. Despite finding themselves in captivity, that same year was named President of the African National Congress.
From prison to the Presidency
Prisoner for 27 years (1963-1990) in appalling conditions, the Government of South Africa rejected all requests that his release. Nelson Mandela became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid inside and outside the country, in a legendary figure who represented the suffering and the lack of freedom to all South African blacks.
In 1984 the Government tried to put an end to such uncomfortable myth, offering him freedom if he agreed to settle in one of the homelands to which the regime had awarded a fiction of independence; Mandela rejected the offer. During those years his wife Winnie symbolized the continuity of the fight, reaching important positions in the African National Congress. The fervent activism, Winnie was not without scandals; years later, already in the 1990s, it would be wrapped in a controversial trial where he was accused of murder, even though she was acquitted.
Finally, Frederik De Klerk, President of the Republic by the national party, had to give in to the evidence and opening the way to dismantle racial segregation. In February 1990, it legalized the African National Congress, and freed Mandela, which became his main interlocutor to negotiate the dismantling of apartheid and the transition to a multiracial democracy; Despite the complexity of the process, both were able to successfully complete the negotiations. Mandela and De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Mandela and Frederik De Klerk in the delivery of the Nobel
The 1994 elections to Mandela became the first Black President of South Africa (1994-1999); from that office launched a policy of national reconciliation, maintaining as Vice President De Klerk and trying to draw into the democratic participation to the wayward Inkhata party's zulu majority. A film by American filmmaker Clint Eastwood, Invictus (2009), would reflect quite faithfully the Mandela of those years; his support for a national team formed by whites during the Rugby World Cup in 1995, held in South Africa, shows its commitment to integrating the white minority and the black majority of that sporting event and its determination to build a nation for all South Africans, regardless of race.
Mandela began the reconstruction and Development Plan, which allocated large amounts of money to improve the living standards of black South Africans on issues such as education, housing, health care or employment, and also prompted the drafting of a new Constitution for the country, which was finally approved by the Parliament in 1996. A year later she handed over the leadership of the African National Congress Thabo Mbeki, destined to become his successor in the Presidency. In 1998, two years after having divorced Winnie, he married Graça Machel, widow of former Mozambique President Samora Machel.
Along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who presided over the Commission of truth and reconciliation, Nelson Mandela presented the report with the conclusions of the Commission in June 1998. The size of the African leader became clear once again when, against the opinion of the African National Congress, endorsed the conclusions of the report, pointing not only the abuses and crimes of the segregationist regime, but also those committed by the various groups of the liberation movements, including the African National Congress. Three months before the end of his term, Mandela announced that I didn't want to stand for re-election. He succeeded him in the Presidency Thabo Mbeki, Victor in the elections of June 1999.
Away from political life since that year, it received multiple awards, even though their health problems became increasingly sporadic public appearances. Despite its withdrawal, the fervor that Mandela awoke on his compatriots followed live: in 2010 it was present at the ceremonies of the World Cup of South Africa, and received warm support from the crowd; in July 2013, being the leader severely sick, Africans went on the streets to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Elevated to the category of one of the most charismatic and influential of the 20th century, his figure has entered history as the embodiment of the struggle for freedom and justice and as a symbol of an entire nation.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities

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