“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Do you want to know who said this statement? It is Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela is one of history’s most inspirational figures. He was a civil rights leader. Nelson Mandela was the first black president of South Africa who was democratically elected. Nelson Mandela taught the world what activism really is. Bravely, Nelson Mandela faced those who wanted to oppress others. The thing that I admired most about Mandela is that he was prepared to give up his own life for his country and democracy. In this essay, I will highlight his role in bringing justice to South African people.
Let us talk about Nelson Mandela’s biographic data briefly. His full name was Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. He was born in 18 July 1918. His hometown was Mvezo, South Africa. Mandela’s occupation was President of South Africa and civil rights activist. Mandela was known for becoming the first black President of South Africa and a civil rights hero. Now, let us explore his significant role in bringing justice to South African people. First, let us talk about the situation in South Africa where Nelson Mandela lived. Sadly, South Africa had a huge racial divide. White people took over the country, and they usually had fortunate lives. They had good jobs, nice homes, privilege to good schools and good healthcare system. On the other hand, majority of black people worked in jobs with low income unlike the white people, and lived in poor communities with poor facilities. They had far fewer rights, for example they were not allowed to vote in elections. Nelson Mandela believed that everyone earned the right to be treated the same. No matter what their skin color is. In 1944 Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress also known as (ANC). It was a political group that tried to create equal rights for whites and blacks.
In 1948 the South African government announced a system called ‘apartheid’, which extended racial divide in the country. The new racist laws listed that black people and white people should lead separate lives. They were banned to live in the same areas, sit at the same table in a restaurant, join the same schools or even sit together on a train or bus. During this time, Nelson Mandela became an important figure in the ANC, helping set up and led a group of young people called the ANC Youth League. Mandela later travelled the country to increase support for non-violent protests against the National Party’s racist laws. Unfortunately, his political action made him very unpopular with the authorities. In 1956, he was arrested for treason, the crime of betraying your country’s government. Nelson Mandela was held in Johannesburg Prison. He stayed in prison for five years before he was released. Amid the years that Nelson will be under arrest, the government prohibited anti-apartheid group, for example, the ANC. In any case, that didn’t stop Nelson and his activists from continuously standing for what they believed on. In fact, they felt more must be done to achieve change. Also, despite the fact that they favored utilizing peaceful protests in their battle for equality, in 1961 Nelson and other ANC pioneers formed a secret military group called Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation. Nelson realized he would be in a bad position if the authorities discovered the secret army and their plans, thus he stayed hidden. He lived undercover from the authorities and even dressed in disguise. However, in August 1962, he was captured on his arrival from Algeria in Northern Africa, and sentenced to five years in jail. Furthermore, things would only get worse for Nelson.
In 1963, the police raided a ranch close to the city of Johannesburg and found documents belonging to the secret army, and weapons. The next year, Nelson and seven other men were charged for plotting to take over the government and given life sentences. During the Rivonia trial in 1964, Nelson wrote some points for his statement from the dock, in which ten African National Congress leaders were tried for 221 acts of sabotage of apartheid. Mandela and his fellow leaders were facing the death penalty. Mandela bravely stated: “The blood of many patriots in this country have been shed for demanding treatment in conformity with civilized standards.” He added with believe: “If I must die, let me declare for all to know that I will meet my fate like a man” .This shows that Mandela was willing to die in order to have equality for all people in South Africa. While in prison, Mandela wrote many letters to his family and others. In 1969, he wrote a letter to his daughters Zeni and Zindzi after his wife was kept in prison for 5 months. In his letter, he encouraged his daughters to be brave and fight for truth and justice. He wrote “When you become adults and think carefully of the unpleasant experiences mummy has gone through, and the stubbornness with which she has held to her beliefs, you will begin to realize the importance of her contribution in the battle for truth and justice and the extent to which she has sacrificed her own personal interests and happiness.”
While Nelson Mandela was in prison, he became a famous prisoner. There were calls all around the world saying to ‘Free Nelson Mandela!’ For years, countries all around the world put pressure on South African government to end apartheid. Overtime, the anti-apartheid movement gained more support than ever. Change for the better finally came in 1989. The president of South Africa whose name is, FR de Klerk set Nelson Mandela free in 1990. One year after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison; Nelson became President of the African National Congress or ANC and worked with FR de Klerk to end apartheid in an agreeable way. They introduced equal rights for all black and white people. Nelson Mandela and FR de Klerk worked towards making South Africa a more peaceful and respectful place. They both won the Nobel peace prize in 1993. Come the 1994 general election, all people from different races in South Africa were allowed to vote. What’s more, Nelson’s hard work for such a significant number of years at long last succeeded. The ANC won, and Nelson Mandela turned out to be South Africa’s first black president. As President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela enhanced the expectations for proper facilities of South Africa’s dark population, who had suffered over decades under apartheid. He also worked hard to make South Africa a country of equality, where individuals of all race and skin tone lived in harmony and in peace. This reminds us of a famous quotation on this topic ,”No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion, people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
In 1999, Nelson Mandela resigned as President .Though he stopped being the president of South Africa, Mandela kept on being a critical figure who fought for justice, peace and equality. He established the Nelson Mandela Organization, an association that attempts to spread the principles of equality, freedom and peace. Nelson Mandela tragically died in December 2013, he was 95 years .He wrote a book called “Long Walk to Freedom”, where readers can find out about the battles he held in his fight against segregation and struggle for equality. In 2009, Nelson’s birthday, 18 July, was authoritatively named ‘Nelson Mandela Day’. Consistently on this day, individuals around the globe respect his heritage by helping their communities and trying to make the world a better place.
In conclusion, Nelson Mandela was one of history’s most inspirational figures. He taught the world what activism really is. He had no fear in his heart. Mandela stood up bravely and fearlessly to those who sought to oppress others. He was willing to give up his own life for the principles of democracy. After being in prison for 27 years, he was stronger and more determined to correct the wrong things he witnessed, Mandela showed nearly super-human emotional strength, inspiring all those who suffer from prejudice, racism and discrimination. To finish up, I wish to quote his own words during his trial in 1964. He reminded the world about them when he was elected president. They are true today as they were then: ‘I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’ And I say, “We shall fight not only for ourselves and relatives but for other people”, “No matter where you are from or what your skin tone is, you are still a human and should be treated like one.”