FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
‘’ The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall’’ Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa is one the greatest leaders and politicians who has graced the civilization with many noble contributions. Nelson Mandela was born as Rolihlahla Mandela on 18th July,1918 in a small village of Mvezo in Transkei South Africa His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as a local chief and councellor to the Monarch. Mandella’s father lost his fortune which forced his mother Noqaphi Nosekeni to move to an even smaller village.
Mandela grew up in the village of qunu where he spent his early years herding the cattle and playing with other boys of the village. Though both his parents were illiterate they realized the importance of education and sent him to the Methodest school .when he was the first in his family to attend school.
Mandela completed his BA at the University of South Africa via correspondence after which Mandela studied law at the University of Witwatersrand. At college he came into contact with modern principles of freedom liberty democracy equality, Africans. who were no better than slaves under the British rule Mandela Participated in movements against racial discrimination .
Nelson Mandela’s political journey began with the African National congress ( ANC) in 1944. Mandela developed ANC’s Defiance campaign. In 1961 he led ANC’S armed wing ANC challenged the raciest political system of apartheid in which black Africans were legally discriminations against apartheid during the 1940s 1950s and 1960s.
Their efforts were met with cruel resistance torture and blood shedding of African people Nelson Mandela and other key leaders of ANC were arrested and charged with treason. In 1964 onwards Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and he was imprisoned in the famous Robben Island Prison where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Life in the prison was like living in the worst place in south-Africa. The Prisoners were treated in a non –conductive manner. The prisoners belonging to African National Congress (ANC) were classified as ‘D’ category meaning most dangerous and had the least right.
Being the leader of the group Nelson received more harsh treatment than the others. He was not allowed to meet any one and his wife was allowed to meet hi once in six months. Mandela spent consecutive year of his life in detention. While in prison Mandela rejected several offers of ‘conditional’ release which would have imposed limitations on his political activities.
By that time South Africa was being increasingly isolated as a racist state. Civil unrest had spread and international boycotts and diplomatic pressures were mounting on South Africa. There was world wide campaigns to release Mandela. In 1990 he was released unconditionally. In the first force election that followed in 1994 ANC under Nelson Mandela won the election and he was chosen to lead the country as its first black president.
Nelson Mandela’s greatest achievement was not so much in becoming South Africa’s first black president but was putting an end to the evil of apartheid which divided blacks and whites of South Africa. He ushered in the history of South Africa an era of social harmony national unity, democratic governance and building the national fabric from the scars of former regime.
His simple principles of political agitation almost on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi healing the wounds of hate, bringing about national unification becoming the symbol of oppressed people all over the world etc are some of his noble legacies to the world.
He advocated and employed methods to kill racism allow full citizenship to people redistribute land bestow trade union rights and provide free and compulsory education for children As a President Mandela worked very hard to smoothen the transition of a minority black rule to a major black rule. He ended apartheid and established new constitution. He also introduced new reforms in economics policy of South Africa. Mandela’s international contribution as a mediator for Libya and United Kingdom for overseeing the military interventions and human right activist are also appreciated.
In 1999 Mandela retired from active politics but he continued to remain active on social front by raising money and building schools and healthcare centre’s in the country. Mandela was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was being treated for the same in 2001.Weakened by cancer and other health issues he breathed his last on 5th December 2013 due to a recurring lung infection.
Mandelas was a proud recipient of Nobel Prize for peace in 1933 which he dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, whom he was greatly influenced with. Apart from this he received more than 250 awards including honourary degrees from more than 50 universities worldwide to pay tribute and homage to this South African leader for his contributions to democracy, freedom. equality peace and human rights around the world. The United Nations declared 18th July to be observed as ‘Nelson Mandela Day’ every year.
Mandela has inspired the mases not only through his work but also by his words. His autobiography. Long walk to freedom provides knowledge and experience capable of moulding thoughts. He has written in his book his concern about equality for blacks.
No one is born with hatred for another person because of the skin colour or background or religion. People must learn to love or they can be taught to love for love comes more naturality to the human heart than its opposite. Mandela aspired to spread peace equality and learning and never gave up his devotion in doing so.
Despite terrible provocation Mandela never gave up hope and stayed firm on his principles. His writing and speeches are collected in ‘I am prepared to Die’ NO easy walk to freedom the struggle in My Life and ‘In his own words’,
Nelson Mndela’s contribution for liberation of Africa continuous struggle for social justice and struggle to change socio-economic system is honoured by one and all In remembrance of this noble contributor the entire civilization honour the principles for which he stood for equality Justice and peace for all.