African National Congress
Nelson Mandela takes pride in his country, has and will forever be grateful to it. In most of the published biographies about the man, most especially in a published transcript of his inaugural speech he reiterated that each one is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country [South Africa] as are the famous Jacarandas of Pretoria and the Mimosas of the Bushveld, that each time one touches the soil of this land, a sense of personal renewal can be felt. He was born a leader and harnessed fully to be one among the most influential, in a way, not even imaginable.
He has lived and struggled amidst the peak of the Apartheid era. He still is spearheading the opposition of the said with ardour as well as resilience despite nearly thirty years spent in jail. He’s devoted his life to a fight which seemed ludicrous from the very beginning but was worth – all of it, for his people, earning him South Africa’s love and respect their hero. Born to a chief Thembuland councillor, he was soon groomed for the chieftainship when his father passed away, when he was adopted by David Dalindyebo in favour of his friend – Mandela’s father instrumental help to Qunu’s.
Mandela pursued studying despite his stature for being a troublemaker – being Rolilhala as his original name which translated into troublemaker. His boarding school was at Healdtown Methodist. At his time, the administrator of the said school was Dr. Arthur Wellington, a stout and stuffy Englishman who boasted of his connection to the duke of Wellington as he recalled in his Autobiography, the Long Walk to Freedom (Mandela, N. Unknown year) At the outset of assemblies, Dr.
Wellington would walk onstage and say, in his deep bass voice, “I am the descendant of the great duke of Wellington, aristocrat, statesman, and general, who crushed the Frenchman Napoleon at Waterloo and thereby saved civilization for Europe– and for you, the natives. ” At this, we would all enthusiastically applaud, each of us profoundly grateful that a descendant of the great duke of Wellington would take the trouble to educate natives such as ourselves. The educated Englishman was our model; what we aspired to be were “black Englishmen,” as we were sometimes derisively called.
We were taught – and believed – that the best ideas were English ideas, the best government was English government, and the best men were Englishmen. Excerpt from Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela His board school somehow has showed that they were at the mercy of these white men and that they were somehow in-debt to them, for the the time they took to educate them. It even came to a point when he thought that everything that is best is English in nature. In this point of his autobiography, he reiterated that their goal was to become “black Englishmen” which would automatically qualify them as [the] best.
He eventually matriculated the Wesleyan school – Healdtown, and soon enough, a Bachelor of Arts degree was started at a University College in Fort Hare. He was elected to become part with the Student’s Representative Council. Being in such position, he was expelled from the said college when a protest boycott was later apprehended and that his participation had been established. Moreover, he finished his degree in Johannesburg through correspondence . At the University of Witwatersrand, he enrolled for an LLB while doing clerkship articles.
Politics then followed though an opportunity presented to join the African National Congress [ANC] by 1942. All these he did while continuing his pursuit for the degree in Johannesburg. Two years later, he aided in establishing the Youth League of ANC. In 1952, he was put into office as National Volunteer-in-Chief by the Defiance Campaign which allowed him to travel around the country for opposition to discriminatory legislation This effort was later on discovered by the Government to which they responded by a suspended sentence for Mandela’s contribution to the campaign – a banning order for the group to stop the effort.
This confined him back to Johannesburg for half a year. The M-plan came through those months in Johannesburg which broke down ANC branches into underground cells. Before 1952 ended, Mandela was appointed Transvaal president of the ANC as well as deputy National president. In the same time, Mandela and Tambo opened and established South Africa’s first black legal firm where it catered mostly to land disputes for being landless and to be living in the wrong area can be an offence.
Oliver Tambo realized that despite their professional status in the community, every case they took in defence of their people [black South Africans, mostly] was a strong reminder of the misery, degradation flushed into them [the people]. This reputation, the partnership gained, was later seen by the Apartheid law to be treacherous of the land segregation legislation. Citing about his stand against the Suppression of Communism Act, the Transvaal Law Society had Mandela removed from the roster of practicing attorneys through the Supreme Court.
This was however turned down by Supreme Justice Ramsbottom with elaboration that Mandela was acting to serve his fellow black citizens and that no breach has been done for him to be unworthy of such noble profession. Halfway through the fifties, the Bantustan policy was introduced. Mandela’s analysis proved that the said policy as a political swindle, very early on. Mass removals, political persecutions and police terror were among his predictions and that the said policy was absurd, economically. As a result, he, too, suffered several manners of repressions.
Arrest, imprisonments and bans were among the very few he has endured. Not until the second half of the fifties, when he became one of the accused of the in the Treason Trial, where he conducted the defence with Duma Nokwe, did his legal practice and political work was at great risk. Still on trial, he was detained after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, when the ANC was declared as an outlaw group. The mammoth trial however collapsed in 1961 when the country government was directed to become a republican in constitution. Mandela was however seen as a leading figure in facing the new stage of struggle.
Moreover, in a challenge against the Apartheid regime, Republic was born in an atmosphere of fear and apprehension when the government responded with a military mobilisation large enough no one has ever imagined since the war. With the ANC now illegal, hand in hand with the turmoil the Republic being born has caused, Mandela hid underground and moved to numerous locations to avoid detection by the Government’s omnipresent spies and informants. He has gone to several disguises as well which earned him the title the Black Pimpernel . Umkhonto we Sizwe was later on constituted as the armed forces of ANC.
Mandela later elaborated in the Rivonia Trial that they [Mandela and colleagues] came to the conclusion that it would be wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met there [our] peaceful demands with force. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to them [us], that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe… The Government had left them [us] no other choice. (Lodge, T. 2006)
The movement embarked on sabotage attacks against government and economic installations but later explained that the orders were carried out with not citizens, human beings harmed. The movement considered Mandela as its commanding-chief officer. He left the country illegally to train and arrange for trainings of movement soldiers in Algeria. On the said trip, he addressed the Conference of Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa, in Ethiopia, where he was openly welcomed by political figures in several attending countries. Upon his return, he was arrested with charges on illegal exit from the country and incitement to strike.
He prepared for his own defence but was convicted to five years imprisonment. While serving his time, he was charged with Sabotage in the Rivonia Trial where he was sentenced with Life imprisonment in the infamous Robben Island. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. ” Nelson Mandela
The Rivonia Trial During his stint at the Robben Island Prison, the prime minister, Verwoerd was killed with a stabbing incident. In his recount [in his Autobiography], this incited tougher treatment to them political prisoners in the facility. Even though they had no connections and bearing with the said plot carried on to kill the Chief Theorist and Master Builder of Grand Apartheid, being the Political prisoners that they are proved them to be somehow connected. He vividly recalls how the wardens took their angers on them, that the tension was suddenly full force again.
They were put in situations when they felt that the authorities were beginning a concentrated effort against them political prisoners as though they [we] had the knife that stabbed Verwoerd. (Mandela, N. Unknown year). Behind bars, Mandela has not in an instance compromised his ideologies in politics. He always was strength for the others. In the seventies, an offer to him on remission of sentence if he recognised Transkei and settled there was utterly refused by Mandela. During the eighties, an offer of freedom if he renounced the armed struggle was again spurned by Mandela.
This somehow tested his resolve but nonetheless proved his being true to the cause as if it needed further proving. He commented further that only free men can negotiate, a prisoner cannot enter into contracts. He has been transferred to Pollsmoor Prison along with other ANC leaders who were imprisoned with him at Robben. The move was believed to cut the influence of these leaders amongst the new breed of black activists believed to have developed and embraced upon Mandela’s idealisms. Shortly after his release on the 11th of February in 1990, Mandela along with his senior leaders unanimously agreed for the suspension of the armed struggle.
This was following the announcement of State President FW de Klerk reversing the ban on the ANC along with other anti-apartheid groups and that prisoners that resulted from the said ban would be released. Mandela’s and de Klerk’s negotiation and commitment towards national peace and reconciliation as well as the relationship between the two was recognised when the two were jointly awarded the Nobel Price for Peace in 1993. The relationship however was strained, particularly with the assassination of a senior ANC leader Chris Hani, a friend to Mandela as well, in April of 1993.
The country was feared to erupt in violence until Mandela called out for a National Appeal for Calm in speech he delivered shortly after. This fired up the negotiators of both party’s into action leading to a joint decision for a democratic election to take place on the 27th of April in 1994. Mandela won the elections and was inaugurated, the very first democratically-elected State President of South Africa. His office reigned from 10 May 1994 – June 1999. Nelson Mandela vacillate not his devotion for a society where equality, learning, and ultimately, democracy reign.
Racism was never an answer against racism with Nelson Mandela. That his life is a struggle is a pure understatement of how he has handled and managed his life through the hardships it has thrown at him. All for the betterment of the South African people – white of black. National reconciliation, nation building, a new world, are but a few of what Nelson Mandela has worked for. He has worked for nothing less than his country – freedom, and long lasting peace; even if along the way he sacrifices his life. He was prepared to die for it as he had so blatantly said during his sentencing in the Rivona Trial.
Now, the country runs in justice and equality un-blinded by the race. Clearly, after years of fight against Apartheid, the regime has been put to rest and everyone now understand that it done nothing but violence and injustice not only to those accused but also to those involved in the trials of the accused. Everyone was a victim of a blinded ideology that ultimately spells our racism in 6 plain letters. Thank the heavens for the likes of Nelson Mandela and the ANC who has so reluctantly spent their lives fighting for the oppressed even if it means giving up them selves into the system, fully.
The people now fully enjoy what Nelson Mandela has sowed in the soils of South Africa. Retiring from Public life on 1999, he goes home to his birth place in Qunu, Transkei.
BIBLIOGRAPHY African National Congress. Profile of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. ANC. N. D. http://www. anc. org. za/people/mandela. html (March 27, 2009). Lodge, T. (2006). Mandela: a Critical Life. Oxford University Press. Mandela, N. (1995). Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. New York: Little, Brown and Company.Sample Essay of Custom-Writing