Nelson Mandela - Biography

Nelson Mandela - Biography

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Short biography - Nelson Mandela was a South African politician, symbolic figure of the struggle against apartheid and the first black president of the Republic of South Africa (1994-1999). At the head of a rainbow nation, he is the last of the twentieth century giants. After the publication of his Memoirs under the title A long way to freedom, in 2005 he became a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador and, in 2006, Ambassador of Conscience for Amnesty International. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Biography of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in 1918 in Cape Province and descended from a royal Xhosa line, the young Nelson Mandela was the first in his family to receive a Western education. A law student, this sportsman, convinced Christian and admirer of Gandhi's thought, adheres to the ideas of African nationalism which aims at the emancipation of black populations from the colonial yoke and joins the ANC. These theses were put to the test in South Africa, when in 1948 the country adopted segregationist legislation: Apartheid.

Mandela, one of the first black lawyers in the country, distinguished himself within the ANC by organizing civil disobedience campaigns in 1952. Several times arrested, watched by the authorities, he nevertheless continued his subversive activities. Confronted with increasingly violent repression (Sharpeville massacre in 1960), Mandela ended up advocating, after long hesitation, the armed struggle against the Pretoria regime. He will be the organizer of a campaign of sabotage with the bomb which will result in him being arrested again on August 5, 1962.

His trial and that of several ANC leaders (Rivonia Trial) was held in Rivoria from 1963 to 1964. Despite a brilliant defense, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. Locked on Robben Island Prison Island, Mandela would go on to become a global icon in the struggle for racial equality. In the 1980s, the apartheid regime, increasingly isolated internationally, chose him as its interlocutor to put an end to the unrest in the country.

Nelson Mandela, an emblematic figure of the anti-apartheid struggle

It was on February 11, 1990 that Nelson Mandela was released from prison, mistakenly welcomed by his supporters and his wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela. After 27 years of incarceration, the leader of the ANC will take the head of the movement which in four years will dismantle the apartheid regime. This racial policy of separate development had been officially instituted in 1948 (although racial segregation dates back to the origins of South Africa three centuries earlier), and had resulted in South Africa being gradually ostracized. of the international community (officially at least, because it remained a pillar of anti-Soviet containment in Africa).

Resulting from a radicalization of Calvinist theology and Afrikaner nationalism, apartheid results in very harsh living conditions for non-whites, who are very limited in their possibility of social and economic development (in particular by their relegation within specific geographic areas). Within the country this policy led to a strong resistance, of which the best known movement remains the ANC of Mandela. Repression, as we know, was sometimes terrible. In the 1980s, the apartheid regime, increasingly isolated internationally, chose him as its interlocutor to put an end to the unrest in the country.

Mandela, first black president of South Africa

Mandela leads with South African President Frederik de Klerk the negotiations which will lead to the end of apartheid in 1991. Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1993, then elected first black president of the Republic of South Africa, he will face to the challenges of economic and social reconstruction of a country plagued by racism, poverty and AIDS.

With the will to establish a stable multiracial democracy, Mandela seeks above all to succeed in his bet of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between the various components of the "rainbow people" of South Africa. To this end, he is setting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to shed light on the human rights violations perpetrated under apartheid. In order to correct the evils of apartheid, it applies a policy of positive discrimination aimed at favoring the black population in terms of employment and launches a program for the development of basic services (access to education, housing, 'water, electricity).

In 1998, he married Graça Machel, a political figure of the Mozanbique. Returning to a private citizen in 1999, he has since worked in various charities, particularly in the fight against poverty. He remains considered one of the great "sages" of the African continent. Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013. To pay homage to him, a grandiose official ceremony was organized on December 10, 2013 in Soweto in the presence of a hundred heads of state and government, in a crowded and moved stadium.


- A long road to freedom by Nelson Mandela, autobiography. Pocket, 1996.

- Nelson Mandela: The last titan of Alfred Bosch. L'Harmattan, 1997.

- Mandela, un destin, biography of Bernard Violet. I read, 2013.

Video: Nelson Mandelas Grandson converts to Islam - Mandla Mandela


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