The world’s most loved and the greatest historical figure Dr. Nelson Mandela, turned 95 years of age on July 18, 2013.
He is currently in hospital in Pretoria, South Africa receiving treatment for a re-occurring lung infection.
This morning the media reports that the Mandela family is happy with his recovery and to have him for his 95th birthday. He could soon be home again.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on the 18th of July 1918 in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
He is a South African lawyer, anti-Apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Before then, Dr. Mandela was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election in 1994.
Under the African National Congress (ANC) government, he focused on dismantling the legacy of Apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.
Politically, an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as the President of the ANC from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
Born to the aba-Thembu royal family, Mandela attended Fort Hare University, University of South Africa (UNISA) and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Through UNISA he graduated for his first degree.
Living in Johannesburg in the 1940s, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League.
And after the Afrikaner nationalists of the National Party came to power in 1948 and began implementing the policy of Apartheid (Separate Development), he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, was elected President of the Transvaal ANC Branch and oversaw the 1955 Congress of the People.
Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961 but was found not guilty. He was also the first Black lawyer to start his own law firm.
Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the South African Communist Party he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) (Spear of the nation) in 1961, leading a bombing campaign against government targets. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of skipping the country without permission and inciting workers to strike.
While still on Robben Island Prison, in 1964, in another trial with his senior comrades, he faced a trail on conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced for sabotage to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial. He and his comrades were incarcerated on Robben Island.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robben Island, and later with few other comrades went to Pollsmoor Prison and then Madiba finished his sentence at the Victor Verster Prison, Paarl. In the 1980s an international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife.
Becoming ANC President, Mandela went on to publish his International Best-Seller autobiography Long Walk to Freedom around 1995 after successfully leading negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish Apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in-which he led the ANC to victory.
Mandela was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to defuse ethnic tensions.
Furthermore, as President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses.
Dr. Mandela’s government introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand healthcare services.
Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho.
He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy Thabo Mbeki, subsequently becoming an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, including other foundations which later emerged.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known by his Clan name, gained international acclaim for his anti-colonial and anti-Apartheid stance, having received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin. Many other awards & honors he received while incarcerated have not yet been found.
He is held in very high esteem in South Africa where he is called as Tata meaning Father; he is often described as “The Father of the Nation”.
Coming into office in 2009 President Jacob Zuma spearheaded the mission to have the United Nations declaring Madiba’s birthday on July 18, as the Mandela Day.
Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of our time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” – Nelson Mandela
English: ezMandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008.
|Author||South Africa The Good News|