Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on the 18th of July 1918 was born into the Madiba clan situated within the village of Mvezo in Eastern cape province of South Africa. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and his father Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela who was the principal counsellor to the stand-in king of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo.
When little Nelson was only 12 years old, his father died in the year 1930 prompting young Mandela to become a ward of Jongintaba at the Great place in Mqhekezweni.
Spending most of his time there at that young age, he constantly heard stories of his ancestor’s heroism during the wars of resistance and dared to dream of his contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.
Nelson Mandela attended primary school in Qunu, a Xhosa rural village in eastern cape and completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute. He further went on to Headtown, a Wesleyan Secondary school where he matriculated.
Rolihlahla enrolled at the University college of Fort Hare for a Bachelor of Arts degree but could not complete the degree due to his expulsion for joining in a student protest.
Due to a dramatic turn of events at the great palace at Mqhekezweni, Nelson Mandela and one of his relatives ran away to Johannesburg in 1941 where he worked as a mine security officer. He eventually completed his Bachelor of Arts degree through the University of South Africa and proceeded to return to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943.
He began studying for his Bachelor of Law at the University of Witwaterstand but left in the year 1952 without graduating and only started studying again through the University of London shortly after his imprisonment in 1962 but also did not complete that degree.
In 1989, while in the last months of his imprisonment, he acquired an LLB through the University of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela became increasingly involved in politics in the year 1942, and in 1944 he joined the African National Congress when he helped to structure the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
He settled down with Evelyn Mase, a nurse in the year 1944 and they bore two sons and two daughters, they lost the first daughter at infancy stage. This marriage ended in 1958 with a divorce.
Slowly, Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its efforts, the ANC adopted an additional radical mass-based policy, the programme of action in 1949.
Rolihlahla was chosen as the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance campaign with Maulvi Cachalia as his deputy in 1952.
This campaign of civil obedience against the six unjust laws existed as a joint programme between the ANC and the South African Indian Congress.
Nelson Mandela and 19 other individuals were charged under the Suppression of Communism Act for their involvement in the campaign and was sentenced to nine months of hard labor accompanied with suspension for two years.
December 5th, 1956, Mandela was apprehended in countrywide police plunge which led to the 1956 Treason trial. Many multiracial men and women found themselves grounded in the harbor in a long trial that only came to an end when the last 28 accused people including Nelson Mandela were released on 29th March 1961.
On 21st March 1960, the police murdered 69 unarmed citizens that participated in a protest in Sharpeville against the pass laws. This unfortunate occurrence led to South Africa’s first state of emergency and the immediate banning of the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) on the 8th of April.
While the trial was happening, Mandela married Winnie Madikizela on the 14th of June 1958. The marriage bore two daughters and they got divorced later in 1966.
Nelson Mandela in June 1961 was asked to lead the armed struggle and gave his support to establish Spear of the Nation, launched on 16 December 1961 accompanied with a series of explosions.
He left South Africa using an alien name and travelled around Africa before visiting England to gain some support for the armed struggle. When Nelson Mandela was done receiving military training in Morocco and Ethiopia he returned to South Africa in July 1962.
On 5th August Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was accosted in a police roadblock outside Howick where he was returning from a briefing.
Mandela was charged on the account of leaving the country without a legal permit and encouraging workers to strike. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment which he began to serve at Pretoria Local prison.
Within a month of his arrest the police raided one of their secret hideouts in Rivonia, Johannesburg used by ANC and Communist Party activists leading to the arrest of several of his comrades.
On October 9, 1963, Mandela and 10 other individuals were trialed for sabotage in what is known today as the “Rivonia” trial.
On 11 June 1964, Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg, and Andrew Mlangeni were all convicted, and the next day were sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 1968 Mandela’s mother died and Nelson’s eldest son Thembi died in 1969 and Mandela was not allowed to attend their funerals. Later in November 1985, Mandela initiated talks about a conclusive meeting between the apartheid government and the ANC.
On the 12th of August 1988, Nelson Mandela was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After a few months in two hospitals, he was transferred to a house near Paarl where he spent his last 14 months of imprisonment.
Nelson Mandela spent most of his time immersing himself in official talks to bring an end to white minority rule leading to his election as ANC president in 1991. In 1993 Nelson Mandela and President FW de klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize conjunctively and on 27 April 1994, for the first time in his life, he voted.
He was elected as South Africa’s first democratic president on 10th May 1994 and in 1998 he married his third wife Graca Machel.
Mandela stepped down in 1999 after a term as President of South Africa. He continued to be in service with the Nelson Mandela Children’s fund he formed in 1995. He went on to establish the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes foundation.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is an exemplary and model figure in African history. He never wavered in his loyalty to democracy, equality, and learning. His life is an inspiration to every person in existence today.
Old Rolihlahla died at his home in Johannesburg on the 5th of December 2013 at the age of 95.