Yesterday being the 5th of December was the anniversary of the death of South African anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela was born into the Thembu Royal Family in Mvezo Union of South Africa. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg.
Mandela together with the ANC committed themselves into overthrowing the national party whites only government established apartheid which was a system of racial segregation that privileged whites.
He was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the 1956 treason trial. Nelson Mandela co-founded the militant uMkhonto We Sizwe in 1961 and led a sabotage campaign against the government. He was finally arrested and imprisoned in 1962 and was sentenced to serve life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state.
He served his sentence for 27 years and was released in 1990 during the presidency of F.W de Klerk. Nelson Mandela and F.W de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid and the 1994 multiracial general election which Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC) to victory was a result of the negotiation.
He was the country’s first black head of state and the first head of state to be elected in a fully representative democratic election.
He emphasized the reconciliation between the country’s racial groups and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past infringements on human rights.
He introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand health care services. He declined a second presidential term and was succeeded by his deputy. He then became an elder statesman and focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
He is globally regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice. He is often referred to in South Africa as Thembu Madiba which translates to father of the nation.
In February, 2011 he was briefly hospitalized due to a respiratory infection and re-admitted for a lung infection and gallstone removal in December, 2012. The lung infection recurred and he was briefly admitted in March, 2013.
In June, the infection worsened and he was readmitted. He was discharged in September although his condition was unstable. After suffering from prolonged respiratory infection, he died on 5th of December, 2013 at the age of 95.