101 years of Mandela: Honouring the man with royal blood who was ‘prepared to die’ to abolish racism

first_img“Lead from the back, and let others believe they are in front”The anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918. He was a politician, philanthropist and an activist; who served as the first black President of South Africa. Today’s date not only marks Mandela’s birthday but is also declared by the UN (from 2009 onwards) as Nelson Mandela International Day or Mandela Day.As the legend turns 101 today, here are some things you should know about him.[Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.]Mandela’s life in 15 pointsNelson Mandela was born into a royal family. Mandela’s great-grandfather was the ruler of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, while his father was a counsellor and a local chief of the monarchs.As a boy, he was given the forename Rolihlahla — a Xhosa term colloquially meaning “troublemaker”. In later years, he became known by his clan name, Madiba.Nelson Mandela was the first member of his family who attended school. He was named Nelson by his teacher in the school as each student was required to have an English name. Young NelsonIn college, Nelson Mandela was an all-round student. He played sports, performed in drama society, took up ballroom dancing and gave Bible lessons in a local community.In 1953, Mandela, along with his friend Oliver Tambo, opened his own law firm, which happened to be the first and only African law firm in the country.Mandela was known as the ‘master of disguise’. He usually disguised himself as a chauffeur and travelled incognito, holding meetings and attending strikes.In 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested, being charged with instigating workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Sentenced to life prison, he served 27 years in jail.In a courtroom during his trial, Mandela gave a three-hour-long speech, ‘I Am Prepared To Die’.advertisementAfter his release, Nelson, along with his supporters, increased pressure on the South African white minority government, and even addressed the international communities in his protest against apartheid and the white minority rule.A success for Mandela against racism, in 1994, he became the first black President of South Africa. He became the first President who was elected by a democratic system and served from 1994 to 1999. Starting his presidential tenure, he abolished apartheid.Nelson was also a philanthropist who did a lot of social charity work to battle poverty and HIV/AIDS. Mandela as a teenagerFor much of his life, Mandela was a controversial figure. He was addressed by many as a terrorist and communist and was even denounced due to his friendship with leaders like Muammar Gaddafi and Fidel Castro.Nelson Mandela received over 260 awards in his lifetime, one of them being the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, which he received in the year 1993.Nelson Mandela has been given several tributes through both films and music. Artists like Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Youssou N’Dour have paid tributes to him through their music, while actors like Morgan Freeman, Terrence Howard, Idris Elba have portrayed him in many films. Nelson Mandela from when he was studying lawIndia and Pakistan have both awarded Nelson Mandela with their most prestigious awards. In 1990, India honoured Mandela with the Bharat Ratna Award, while in 1992, Pakistan gave him the Nishan-e-Pakistan Award.Interested in General Knowledge and Current Affairs? Click here to stay informed and know what is happening around the world with our G.K. and Current Affairs section.To get more updates on Current Affairs, send in your query by mail to [email protected]last_img

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