Tag: end of apartheid

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. He was 95.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” said Jacob Zuma, the South African president, about Nelson Mandela.   Zuma announced Mr. Mandela’s death.  Mr. Mandela had long said he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital this summer was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil eclipsed a visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.

Mr. Mandela ultimately died at home at 8:50 p.m. local time, and he will be buried according to his wishes in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.

Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.

The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.

The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to the inauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.

And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites with fears of vengeance.  The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.

When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.

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Happy 95th Birthday, Former South African President and Activist Nelson Mandela

220px-Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)Despite his current health status and the speculation that ranges from a critical condition to on the road to recovery, today is Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and we want to celebrate his incredible life and work on this momentous occasion.  Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa, a Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family.  

According to Wikipedia, Mandela attended Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the African National Congress and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. 

To learn more about his work to overthrow apartheid in South Africa, his decades-long imprisonment, leadership of the country at its President, and how he inspired freedom fighters and activists around the world, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

23 Years Ago Today: Nelson Mandela Released After Decades-Long Imprisonment

 (Photo: TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

On Feb. 2, 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk announced the release of imprisoned political leader Nelson Mandela and lifted the country’s ban on membership in the African National Congress, the political party that pushed for equal rights for Blacks under the racially oppressive apartheid government.  

Mandela, the leader of the ANC, spent 27 years behind bars after being convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life in prison. De Klerk worked with Mandela to transition the country from apartheid rule to the majority rule it enjoys today. Both he and Mandela were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for Peace for their efforts.  In 1994, Mandela won the presidency in South Africa’s first all-inclusive elections. In 1999, at 80 years old, he opted out of another run for presidency to retire from public life.

article by Britt Middleton via bet.com