Mandela, Nelson life and biography

Mandela, Nelson picture, image, poster

Mandela, Nelson biography

Date of birth : 1918-07-18
Date of death : 2013-12-05
Birthplace : Mvezo, South Africa
Nationality : South-African
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2014-01-28
Credited as : President of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize 1993, Madiba, apartheid regime, protest

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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 18 July 1918, served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first South-African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of the African National Congress's armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. The South African courts convicted him on charges of sabotage, as well as other crimes committed while he led the movement against apartheid. In accordance with his conviction's sentence, Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela supported reconciliation and negotiation, and helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa.

Since the end of apartheid, many have frequently praised Mandela, including former opponents. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.

Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, most notably the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela's birthday, 18 July, is to be known as 'Mandela Day' to mark his contribution to world freedom.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner in South Africa before becoming the country's first black president. Mandela was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC), which opposed South Africa's white minority government and its policy of racial separation, known as apartheid. The government outlawed the ANC in 1960. Mandela was captured and jailed in 1962, and in 1964 he was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison. He began serving the sentence as prisoner 46664 on Robben Island, near Cape Town, but instead of disappearing from view, Mandela became a prison-bound martyr and worldwide symbol of resistance to racism. South African President F.W. de Klerk finally lifted the ban on the ANC and released Mandela in 1990. Mandela used his stature to help dismantle apartheid and form a new multi-racial democracy, and he and de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela was elected the country's president in 1994. He served until 1999, when he was succeeded by his deputy Thabo Mbeki. Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was published in 1994.

Nelson Mandela had strongly oppossed the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and called it an attempt by the world's powerful nations to police the entire world. In 2002 and 2003, Mandela criticised the foreign policy of the administration of U.S. president George W. Bush in a number of speeches. Criticising the lack of UN involvement in the decision to begin the War in Iraq, he said, "It is a tragedy, what is happening, what Bush is doing. But Bush is now undermining the United Nations." Mandela stated he would support action against Iraq only if it is ordered by the UN. Mandela also insinuated that the United States may have been motivated by racism in not following the UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan on the issue of the war. "Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white".

He urged the people of the U.S. to join massive protests against Bush and called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the UN Security Council, to oppose him. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." He attacked the United States for its record on human rights and for dropping atomic bombs on Japan during World War II. "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care." Nelson Mandela also harshly condemned British Prime Minister Tony Blair and referred to him as the "foreign minister of the United States."

Mahatma Gandhi influenced Mandela's approach, and subsequently the methods of succeeding generations of South African anti-apartheid activists. Mandela even took part in the 29–30 January 2007 conference in New Delhi marking the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's introduction of satyagraha (non-violent resistance) in South Africa.

On 30 April 2001, Nelson Mandela Gardens in Millenium Square, Leeds was officially opened and Nelson Mandela was awarded the freedom of the city and awarded a commemorative 'golden owl' (the heraldric symbol of Leeds). In a speech outside Leeds Civic Hall in front of 5000 people, mistakenly Mandela famously thanked 'the people of Liverpool for their generosity'

On 31 March 2004, Sandton Square in Johannesburg was renamed Nelson Mandela Square, after a 6-metre statue of Nelson Mandela was installed on the square to honour the famous South African statesman.

On 29 August 2007, a statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at Parliament Square in London by Richard Attenborough, Ken Livingstone, Wendy Woods, and Gordon Brown. The campaign to erect the statue was started in 2000 by the late Donald Woods, a South African journalist driven into exile because of his anti-apartheid activities. Mandela stated that it represented not just him, but all those who have resisted oppression, especially those in South Africa. He added: "The history of the struggle in South Africa is rich with the stories of heroes and heroines, some of them leaders, some of them followers. All of them deserve to be remembered."

On 27 August 2008, a statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at Groot Drakenstein Correctional Centre between Paarl and Franshhoek on the R301 road, near Cape Town. Formerly known as Victor Verster, this was where Mandela spent the last few years of his 27 years in jail in relative comfort, as he and other ANC stalwarts negotiated with the apartheid government on the terms of his release and the nature of the new South Africa. It stands on the very spot where Mandela took his first steps as a free man. Just outside the prison gates – the culmination of the Long Walk to Freedom – the title of Mandela's autobiography.

After 1989's Loma Prieta Earthquake demolished the Cypress Street Viaduct portion of the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland, California, the city renamed the street-level boulevard that replaced it Mandela Parkway in his honor.

In Leicester, England there is a Nelson Mandela Park with the slogan "South Africa belongs to all those who live there, Black and White". It is opposite Leicester Tigers ground Welford Road.

After suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection, Mandela died on 5 December 2013, aged 95.

Rocker Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band wowed fans on 26 January 2014 during his night opening of their first concert in South Africa with a rousing tribute to the late Madiba. He kicked off the show in Cape Town with "Free Nelson Mandela", a song written by British musician Jerry Dammers and made famous in the 1980s by The Specials later renamed The Special AKA.

The track was released to protest against the imprisonment of Mandela by the apartheid regime.

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