Nelson Mandela was a South African who became known for his role against apartheid in that nation. After being jailed for his beliefs, he went on to become the president of the African National Congress and later won the Noble Peace Prize in 1993. He is one of the more famous Nobel winners.
Nelson Mandela’s early life
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in South Africa. His birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela, but he used the name Nelson after he started school. His father died when he was a young man, so he was raised by the acting chief of the Thembu tribe, Jongintaba Dalinyebo.
Mandela attended University College of Fort Hare, the University of Witwatersrand, and in 1942, qualified in law. Mandela and his friend Oliver Tambo began the first black law firm in 1952.
Mandela married Evelyn Mase in 1944. Mandela’s second marriage, to Winnie Madikizela, took place in 1958.
He began his political resistance when he became a member of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 and participated in resistance efforts against the apartheid policies of South Africa’s ruling National Party in 1948. His efforts brought him to trial from 1956 to 1961. He was acquitted in 1961, but when the ANC was banned, Mandela organized a military wing and proposed the use of violent tactics. An organization called Unkhonto we Sizwe was formed to support him. In 1962, Mandela was arrested because of this and was sent to prison to do hard labor for five years.
He stood trial in 1963 for plotting to overthrow the government by violence, after which he was sentenced to life in prison. During this time, he was imprisoned at Robben Island Prison and, later, Pollsmoor Prison. Even thought he was imprisoned, Mandela became a symbol of resistance and was viewed as a leader against apartheid.
Nelson Mandela’s life after prison
After his 27 years of imprisonment ended in 1990, Mandela was elected president of the ANC and continued to work for his causes. In 1994, Mandela was elected president of South Africa, making him that country’s first black president. He remained in office until 1999.
In 2008, an international celebration was held to honor his dedication to civil rights and equality throughout his life. Mandela was 90 years old. July 18, the day of his birth, was declared as Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009.
Nelson Mandela and the Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Nelson Mandela in 1993. The other prize winner that year was Frederik Willem de Klerk. The Nobel Foundation commented that its awards were given “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."