Nelson Mandela was the most significant black leader who stood against racism and apartheid in South Africa, while many in the world were silent. He dreamt of a democratic and free society in which people live together in harmony with equal opportunities. His words, ”the struggle is my life”, give a glimpse of the determination he fought with against apartheid and racism in South Africa, the goal he had set almost four decades back. Mandela has held numerous positions in the ANC: ANCYL secretary (1948); ANCYL president (1950); ANC Transvaal president (1952); Deputy national president (1952) and ANC president (1991). Despites several roadblock and barriers in his path, Mandela succeeded in bringing quality and justice to his people for which he was awarded the honorary Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Childhood & Education
Nelson Mandela was born in the Transkei on the 18 July 1918. He lost his father, who was a councilor- at the age of nine when he died of tuberculosis. Hearing the elder’s stories of his ancestors’ bravery during the wars in defense of their fatherland, he dreamed of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people. He was the first member of his family to attend a school and was given the English name ‘Nelson’ by his teacher. After receiving primary education at a local mission school, he enrolled at the University College of Forte Hare for the Bachelor of Arts Degree where he met Oliver Tambo and the two became lifelong friends.
At the end of the first year of the college Nelson became involved in a boycott by the Students’ Representative Council against the university policies, and was told to leave the college. Then he went to Johannesburg to complete his BA via correspondence and entered politics while studying there by joining African National Congress in 1942. After completing his B.A. he started with his law studies at the University of Witwatersrand. During this period Mandela lived in Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg. Later, when he was in prison, Mandela studies for a Bachelor of Laws from the university of London external programme. Mandela has honorary degrees from more than 50 international universities and is chancellor of the University of the North.