Today 18th of July marks the 100th Year since the birth of a philanthropist, political leader, Nobel Prize Winner, hero and champion of human rights.
It is known as the “Nelson Mandela International Day” (or Mandela Day) which falls every year on Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
It was a day declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009 to commemorate and honour Nelson Mandela’s contribution in fighting for freedom, equality and human rights.
The UN calls upon individuals around the world to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference in their communities.
FACTS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT NELSON MANDELA
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Mvezo, South Africa and his forename ‘Rolihlahla’ is an Xhosa term colloquially means ‘troublemaker’. His father gave him this name.
He got his English first name ‘Nelson’ by her school teacher, Miss Mdingane. Giving African children English names was a custom among Africans in those days and was influenced by British colonials who could not easily and often would not, pronounce African names. It is unclear why Miss Mdingane chose the name “Nelson” for Mr Mandela.
In school, Mandela studied law and became one of South Africa’s first black lawyers.
He developed a love for African History when he attended a mission school near the ‘Great Palace’ in Qunu after his father’s death. He was taken care by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo as entrusted by her mother.
WHAT WAS NELSON MANDELA FIGHTING FOR?
Mandela was in opposition towards the National Party establishing the Apartheid legislations (racial segregation of privileging white minority and repression of the majority of non-whites) after they have won the 1948 general election, where only whites are able to vote.
He joined the African National Congress (ANC) as he was studying Law at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In opposition to the Apartheid (system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s) legislation, the ANC executed the “Programme of Action”, where they openly defy against the government for the apartheid by protest, mass strikes, boycotts and other forms of peaceful, nonviolent resistance.
They have also executed the “Defiance Campaign” against the apartheid where they called upon the people to deliberately break the apartheid law and voluntarily get arrested by the police to create havoc among the police force.
The government responded to the opposition by establishing martial law, mass arrest and arresting key ANC leaders including Mandela where they’ll be prosecuted and jailed for their crime.
RIVONIA TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT
The climax reaches after a series of trials and imprisonments by the South African Government to in an attempt to silence the opponents of the apartheid. Nelson Mandela and ten other ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment as the Rivonia Trial comes to a close at 12 June 1964.
Mandela spent the next 27 years being a political prisoner in Robben Island (1964-1982), Pollsmoor Prison (1982-1988) and finally Victor Verster Prison (1988-1990).
He suffered greatly as he lived in a terrible condition cell, especially when he was not given permission to visit his mother’s and eldest son’s funeral. Nelson has several chances to be released from prison, but he could not accept the conditions given by the Government.
While he was imprisoned, he completed his LLB degree from the University of London correspondence program.
RELEASE FROM PRISON, ENDING THE APARTHEID AND PRESIDENCY
Mandela was released from prison in 1990 after the Prime Minister of South Africa, P.W. Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced by F.W. de Klerk. Mandela and Klerk worked closely together to dismantle the apartheid legislation and discussing of having a multi-racial general election.
Despite the discussion and negotiation, the end result was highly successful. Mandela was elected at the age of 77 as the first Black head of state and head of Government who was democratically elected in South Africa’s first multiracial election in 1994 with de Klerk as his deputy.
He laboured greatly to smoothen the transition of the minority apartheid rule to the multiracial majority and reconciling the relationship between the black and white people. He has also worked to improve the state of the economy and provided more access for healthcare, education, housing and many more to African people.
RETIREMENT AND ACTIVISM
After he ended his presidency in 1999, he retired from politics and was actively involved with more humanitarian activities such as fighting against HIV/AIDS, building schools and formed several organisations such as Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Elders and many more.
DEATH AND LEGACY
Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013 at 8.50 p.m. Thursday (1.50 p.m. ET), surrounded by his family at the age of 95 after battling for several years against his prolonged respiratory infection. It garnered a lot of attention from politicians, governments, worldwide media and many more.
South Africans undergo a 10-day national mourning where numerous memorial services were conducted throughout the country.
what can I do during Nelson Mandela Day?
As stated by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, they urged South Africans and YOU to spend 67 minutes of YOUR TIME a good cause to “change the world” as for how Mandela did for the past 67 years.
So what can we learn as a society from the life of Nelson Mandela? What we can learn is despite the numerous odds that are stacked against him, Mandela continues to persevere through the challenges without losing HOPE.
We can take inspiration from his courage, will and determination to fight for what he believed to be right and how his legacy still lives on, even today.
We should emulate his spirit of perseverance, compassion and unshakeable resolve in our everyday lives in order to inspire others to emulate such noble characteristics in order to make the world a better place.
In commemoration of this celebration, as our way of sharing a good cause, we are giving out Flexiroam XCITE packs for everyone who is currently residing in South Africa. Travelling and communicating outside South Africa is much easier now with this complimentary 1GB data that you can use in 53 countries around the world. Don’t miss out this US $25.00 value now for FREE.
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