Essay on Nelson Mandela (400 Words)
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Nelson
Mandela He spent 27 years of his life in prison, and that too, in one of the most terrible places in the world. Many people have spent their lives in confinement but to come out of it with your principles intact, is an entirely different story. It is the story of Nelson Mandela.
It’s surprising to note that he had once supported violence as an answer to all issues in South Africa, but later emerged as a nation-builder on the foundations of non-violence. He served as the President of South Africa from 1994-1999.
Mandela was born as Rolihlahla Mandela on 18th July, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in South Africa. ‘Rolihlahla’ literally means ‘pulling the branch of a tree’ or ‘troublemaker’ in the native Xhosa language. He became the first member of his family to attend school. He then enrolled at Fort Hare University for B.A. But he was forced to leave college for leading a student protest against the university’s policies.
Mandela’s political journey began with the African National Congress (ANC), after the election of pro-apartheid National Party in 1948. Mandela developed ANC’s Defiance Campaign and Congress of the people in 1955. In 1961, he led ANC’s armed wing. He was arrested in 1962 and sentenced in 1964. He was to spend 27 years in prison and 18 of them in more hostile conditions at Robben Island. He was released in 1990 owing to mounting international pressure.
In 1994, the country’s first elections incorporating both the Blacks and Whites were held. ANC triumphed and Mandela was inducted as the country’s first Black President. He played an important role in advocating trial of suspects in Pan Am Flight bombing. He retired in 1999 and dedicated the rest of his life to social causes.
On 5th December, 2013 he passed away, aged 95, at his home in Johannesburg. In centuries to come, he will be a source of inspiration and courage under difficult conditions. He stood up to an unfair system and garnered support from all over the world. He got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Other honours included Order of Merit and Presidential Medal of freedom. In describing his life, Mandela said: ‘‘I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.” He was a leader in the true sense, who led by example, and lived for his countrymen.
Essay on Nelson Mandela (500 Words)
What Mahatma Gandhi was to India, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was to South Africa. He was born in Transkei, South Africa in July, 1918. His father was the Chief of the Tembu Tribe. Mandela himself was educated at University College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and qualified in law in 1942. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies after 1948. He went on trial for treason in 1956-1961 and was acquitted in 1961.
The ANC was banned in 1960. At this, Nelson Mandela argued with the ANC leaders for setting up a military wing within the ANC. In June 1961, the ANC executive considered his proposal on the use of violent tactics and agreed that those members who wished to involve themselves in Mandela’s campaign would not be stopped from doing so by the ANC. This led to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with hard labour. In 1963, when many fellow leaders of the ANC and the Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested, Mandela was brought to stand trial with them for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. His statement from the dock received considerable international publicity. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment. From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison; thereafter, he was at Pollsmoor Prison.
Nelson Mandela’s reputation grew steadily during his years in prison. He was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom.
Nelson Mandela was released on February 18, 1990. After his release, he devoted himself wholeheartedly to his life’s work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991, at the first national conference of the ANC held in South Africa after the organisation had been banned in 1960, Mandela was elected as the President of the ANC while his lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the organisation’s National Chairperson. The ANC emerged victorious in the elections, and Mandela became the first black President of South Africa. Today, he leads a retired life.
He shared the Nobel Prize for Peace with F. W. DeClark for successful negotiations to end the evil of apartheid. He is also the recipient of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding (1979) and Bharat Ratna (1990) besides many others.
He is recognised as the ‘Living Gandhi’ as he has followed the Gandhian legacy wholeheartedly. He has no bitter words for those very whites who perpetrated cruelties on the blacks. He called upon them to unite and come out as united South Africans. He died on 5 December, 2013.