Nelson Mandela Essay

This essay has a total of 641 words and 4 pages.

Nelson Mandela




Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994. He is the country's first black
president. He was elected by the country's National Assembly. The Assembly had been
chosen in South Africa's first elections in which the country's blacks were allowed to
vote. Blacks won a majority of the Assembly seats, and the Assembly selected Mandela as
president. These developments marked the beginning of a new era in South Africa. They
resulted in blacks gaining control of the government after a long period of domination by
the white minority.

Since 1991, Mandela had served as president of the African National Congress (ANC), a
largely black group that opposed the South African government's policy of rigid racial
segregation called apartheid. He had long been a leader of protests against apartheid and
was imprisoned in 1962 on charges of conspiring to over throw the white-minority
government. While in prison, he became a symbol of the struggle for racial justice.
After being freed in 1990, he led negotiations with white leaders that eventually brought
an end to apartheid and established a nonracial system of government.

Mandela and then-President F. W. de Klerk of South Africa won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
They were honored for their work to end apartheid and to enable the country's nonwhites to
fully participate in South African government.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Umtata, in the Transkei territory of South Africa.
His father was a chief of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu tribe. Mandela gave up his right to
succeed his father and instead prepared for a correspondence a legal career. He attended
the University College of Fort Hare, studied law by correspondence at Witwatersrand
University, and received a law degree from the University of South Africa in 1942. That
year, in Soweto, he and a friend opened the first black law partnership in South Africa.

In 1944, Mandela joined the ANC and helped form the organization's Youth League. In 1948,
the South African government established its policy of apartheid. The ANC called for
equality for all races and began leading open resistance to the government. In 1956, the
government charged Mandela with treason and other serious crimes, but he was found not
guilty in 1961. The government had outlawed the ANC in 1960, but Mandela renewed the
protests and went into hiding. He was arrested in 1962, convicted of sabotage and
conspiracy, and sentenced to life in prison.

While Mandela was in prison, growing antiapartheid forces in South Africa argued that he
should be freed. His wife at that time, Winnie Mandela, became a leading spokesperson for
his cause. Shortly before Mandela's release in 1990, the government recognized the ANC as
a legal political organization.

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