(b. July 18, 1918--d. December 5, 2013)
Very few human beings of the past century have had a more profound, inspirational, and truly enduring impact on the actual thought, imagination, and behavior of millions of people throughout the world as the legendary and iconic South African revolutionary activist and leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (aka 'Madiba') did who died yesterday at age 95. It is simply impossible to overstate the extraordinary significance of what he was able to accomplish in one lifetime or to fully encompass in words what his lifelong struggle and that of his colleagues and millions of his people in South Africa for freedom, justice, and self determination from one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes in world history meant to so many people. Suffice to say that the liberation movement that Mandela and his fellow revolutionary activists and grassroots organizers in the African National Congress (ANC) led against apartheid/white supremacist domination in South Africa over the past century has been a luminous beacon for so many others across the globe who are also fighting for freedom, justice, independence, and peace against and in spite of tremendous odds and fierce opposition from reactionary and repressive elites in their respective nations.
In that light it is important to remember that one of the major sites of deep appreciation for and sustained interest in Mr. Mandela in the African disapora has been and continues to be here in the United States, in Europe, and throughout the Caribbean. Since the 1940s for example leading African American activists, intellectuals, political leaders and cultural figures played a pivotal role in making the entire world aware of what was transpiring in the South African struggle and the crucial roles that individuals like Mandela and the disciplined cadres of the ANC played in this global Pan African movement, while simultaneously engaging in parallel struggles within the U.S., as well as in various Caribbean and South American nations.
Finally we must be absolutely clear about exactly who Nelson Mandela was (and wasn't) and what he in concert with his People actually accomplished. This is very important because like always in an often far too cynical, infantile, and myopic world one can lose sight of just how important and necessary such seminal historical figures as Mandela actually are. But let no one distort, mislead, or confuse us about the profound ongoing legacy of who Nelson Mandela really was and is. Remember that this was a man who for over 70 years (!) participated in and led a tremendous resistance movement against one of the most heinous, evil, and deadly regimes in human history and who despite nearly 30 years in prison lived not only to tell the story of exactly what happened and why but who remained instrumental--despite all obstacles and shortcomings to the contrary-- in the even more arduous and unrelenting struggle to transform his society and culture from the standpoint of what in the final analysis was and is a revolutionary vision of what still needs to be done not only in South Africa but the rest of Africa, and indeed the rest of the world as well. In that historical context there is absolutely no one like him on the world scene today and there is very likely no one public figure anytime soon who will even approach the depth and ultimate value of what he accomplished through the sterling and exemplary force of his example. We owe him and the extraordinary struggle that produced him and his legendary comrades from the ANC a tremendous debt for their profound sacrifice, courage, and commitment. Let that legacy in all of its many dimensions remain both our watchword and our clarion call. AMANDLA NGAWETU! May Madiba rest in eternal peace.
A Luta Continua,
The Contradictions of Mandela
December 5, 2013
New York Times
I REMEMBER Nelson Mandela. No, not the universally adored elder statesman who successfully resisted the megalomania that comes with deification, and who died Thursday at age 95, but the young lawyer who used to sit in my parents’ living room until the early hours of the morning, debating African nationalism with my father, Ashby Peter Mda.
In 1944, they were among the leaders who had founded the African National Congress Youth League. These young men considered the African National Congress, which had by then existed for more than three decades, moribund and outmoded. They felt there was a need to take the liberation struggle from protest to armed struggle, and were known to shout down those they felt were “selling out” by participating in apartheid-created structures through which black people were supposed to express their political aspirations.
What struck me, even then, was that Mandela was a man of contradictions. He could be avuncular, especially to us kids, but he was also strict and disciplined. While he was a fire-breathing revolutionary who would quote Marx and Lenin at the drop of a hat, he was also a Xhosa traditionalist with aristocratic tendencies. For instance, Kaiser and George Matanzima, chiefs of the Tembu ethnic group who spearheaded the apartheid “Bantustan” system of separate territories for black South Africans, were not only his relatives but his friends as well. While many thought the Matanzima brothers had betrayed the cause of black liberation, Mandela would not thoroughly denounce them. Perhaps here we could already see the flicker of tolerance to those with opposing views for which he later distinguished himself.
It is ironic that in today’s South Africa, there is an increasingly vocal segment of black South Africans who feel that Mandela sold out the liberation struggle to white interests. This will come as a surprise to the international community, which informally canonized him and thinks he enjoyed universal adoration in his country. After he initiated negotiations for the end of apartheid and led South Africa into a new era of freedom with a progressive Constitution that recognizes the rights of everyone (including homosexuals, another admirable contradiction for an African aristocrat), there was, of course, euphoria in the country. But that was a long time ago. With the rampant corruption of the current ruling elite, and the fact that very little has changed for a majority of black people, the euphoria has been replaced with disillusionment.
The new order that Mandela brought about, this argument goes, did not fundamentally change the economic arrangements in the country. It ushered in prosperity, but the distribution of that prosperity was skewed in favor of the white establishment and its dependent new black elite. Today the political apparatchiks are the new billionaires, led by a president — Jacob Zuma — who blatantly used millions of taxpayer dollars to upgrade his private residence to accommodate his expanding harem and a phalanx of children.
The blame-Mandela movement is not by any means a groundswell, but it is loud enough in its vehemence to warrant attention. It is led by individual activists whose main platforms are Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and in its formal sense by such organizations as the September National Imbizo, which believes that “South Africa is an anti-black white supremacist country managed by the A.N.C. in the interests of white people. Only blacks can liberate themselves.” The claim is that the settlement reached between the A.N.C. and the white apartheid government was a fraud perpetrated on the black people, who have yet to get back the land stolen by whites during colonialism. Mandela’s government, critics say, focused on the cosmetics of reconciliation, while nothing materially changed in the lives of a majority of South Africans.
This movement, though not representative of the majority of black South Africans who still adore Mandela and his A.N.C., is gaining momentum, especially on university campuses.
I understand the frustrations of those young South Africans and I share their disillusionment. I, however, do not share their perspective on Mandela. I saw in him a skillful politician whose policy of reconciliation saved the country from a blood bath and ushered it into a period of democracy, human rights and tolerance. I admired him for his compassion and generosity, values that are not usually associated with politicians. I also admired him for his integrity and loyalty.
But I fear that, for Mandela, loyalty went too far. The corruption that we see today did not just suddenly erupt after his term in office; it took root during his time. He was loyal to his comrades to a fault, and was therefore blind to some of their misdeeds.
When he was president, I often wrote about the emerging patronage system and crony capitalism. To his credit, when I wrote him a long letter outlining my concerns, he phoned me within a week and arranged a meeting between me and three of his senior cabinet ministers. Although nothing of substance came of the meeting, the very fact that Mandela listened attentively to the complaints of an ordinary citizen, and took them seriously enough to convene such a meeting, was extraordinary for any president.
In later years, however, Mandela became the victim of the very corruption I was complaining about. He was surrounded by all sorts of characters, friends and relatives, some of whom were keen to profit from his name. They include his grandson Mandla Mandela, a petty tribal chief who was widely reported to have pre-emptively sold to a television network the broadcast rights to his grandfather’s funeral.
Mandela leaves a proud legacy of freedom and human rights, of tolerance and reconciliation. Alas, some of his compatriots are trampling on it. I cannot speak for him and say he was pained by what he saw happening to his country in his last days. I had not spoken with him for years before he died. But I can say that the Mandela I knew would have been pained.
Zakes Mda, a professor of creative writing at Ohio University, is the author of “Sometimes There Is a Void: Memoirs of an Outsider.”
The former South African president, who spent 27 years in prison because he fought apartheid, has died.
BY MONEE FIELDS-WHITE
December 5, 2013
On Feb. 11, 1990, South African political leader Nelson Mandela walked out of a prison after 27 years to fulfill his mission: dismantling the country's apartheid regime. By 1994 the Nobel Prize winner had achieved just that by establishing the first democratic elections in South Africa and becoming its first black president. The towering statesman died today at the age of 95.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in a tiny village in rural South Africa, known as Mvezo. "Rolihlahla" in the Xhosa language means "pulling the branch of a tree," or more commonly refers to "troublemaker." Mandela's mother -- Nosekeni Fanny -- was the third of his father's four wives.
His father was set to be chief, but a dispute with the local colonial magistrate changed the future that had been carved out. Mandela's father lost his title and fortune, which forced the family to move to an even smaller village, Qunu.
A family friend suggested to Mandela's father that he have his young son baptized in the Methodist Church so that he could attend school. Mandela became the first in the family to receive a formal education, and as a reflection of the British bias within the educational system, he was given the first name "Nelson."
When Mandela was 9, his father died of lung disease, and a high-ranking Tembu chief adopted Mandela. Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo moved the young Mandela into his royal residence. Mandela took classes with the regent's son and daughter in a one-room school next to the palace. He studied English, Xhosa, history and geography; he also learned the history of his country and people and how whites had arrived and taken the country from them.
Chief Jongintaba began grooming the teenage Mandela for high office, sending him to a Wesleyan -- Methodist -- mission school and Wesleyan College, which most Tembu royalty attended. Mandela succeeded there academically and also pursued track and boxing.
At 21 Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, the only higher-learning center for blacks in South Africa. It was considered to be Africa's Oxford or Harvard. He studied Roman Dutch law, which would have prepared him for a career in civil service as an interpreter or clerk -- the best jobs available for black men. He also met Oliver Tambo there; the men would develop a lifelong bond.
During his second year, Mandela was elected to the Student Representative Council, or the SRC. But many students had been unhappy with how powerless the SRC was on campus, and a majority voted to boycott the elections. Mandela resigned from his post to join those students in their protest. School officials expelled him for insubordination.
Furious with Mandela, Chief Jongintaba told him to apologize so that he could return to school in the fall. The chief also announced that he had arranged a marriage for Mandela. Feeling trapped, Mandela ran away to Johannesburg, where he worked at odd jobs. He also finished his bachelor's degree through correspondence courses at the University of South Africa.
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Nelson Mandela and His Cause Weren’t Always Revered in the US
by Katrina vanden Heuvel
December 10, 2013
The Nation & the WashingtonPost.com
Leaders from across the world will gather in South Africa this week to pay tribute to the most extraordinary leader of our lifetime, Nelson Mandela. The chorus of tributes, from across the globe and across the political spectrum, cannot hope to do justice to this remarkable man, who emerged from twenty-seven years in prison with a grace, dignity and will sufficient to transform the brutal apartheid system peacefully and spread hope across the world.
But Mandela was not always universally praised. In fact, US administrations of both parties were far from ardent opponents of South Africa’s apartheid regime or supporters of Mandela and his organization, the African National Congress (ANC). Conservatives in particular long saw the apartheid regime as an anti-communist bulwark in the Cold War. After Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, the conservative National Review magazine defended South African courts for sending up “a batch of admitted terrorists to life in the penitentiary.” Conservative Russell Kirk opined that democratic rule in South Africa would bring “the collapse of civilization,” and the resulting government would be “domination by witch doctors…and reckless demagogues.”
President Richard Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, believed the apartheid regime was an essential ally that was here to stay, arguing in a secret National Security Council policy study—dubbed the “Tar Baby” report—that the United States shouldn’t risk getting stuck in support of the oppressed majority.
Ronald Reagan branded the ANC a terrorist organization while dismissing apartheid as more of a “tribal policy than a racial policy.” He advocated “constructive engagement” with the regime, calling for closer trade relations while opposing economic sanctions. The emerging new right gleefully joined in labeling the ANC and other African liberation movements communist, while promoting their own “freedom movements,” largely tribal and racialist alternatives. Jack Abramoff, later infamously indicted for illegal lobbying and financial frauds, became president of the International Freedom Foundation, later exposed as a front group for the South African Army, established to discredit the ANC as communists and terrorists. Grover Norquist and others mobilized to counter the divestment movement. (Norquist sported a bumper sticker saying “I’d rather be killing commies.”) In 1990, when Mandela was released from prison and traveled to the United States, the Heritage Foundation called him a terrorist.
Mandela and the ANC enraged the Cold Warriors. The ANC was allied closely with the South African Communist Party (indeed, the latter was a significant factor in keeping the ANC a multiracial party). The Soviet Union and Cuba provided external support. Mandela refused to disavow the use of violence against the repressive apartheid regime, even when offered an earlier release from prison. Upon his release, Mandela continued to embrace Castro as a “source of inspiration.” He remained a severe critic of Israel, condemning its treatment of the Palestinians. When he opposed Bush’s war on Iraq, National Review contributor Dave Kopel condemned his “long standing dedication to Communism and praise for terrorism.”
In 1985, the ANC called for U.S. sanctions against South Africa, arguing that the apartheid regime show no sign of changing. The movement to get American institutions and businesses to disinvest from South Africa — led by student and religious activists — spread across the country. President Obama remembers giving his first political speech for the cause.
But the movement was initially scorned as extreme and unrealistic. Moderates and the U.S. business community rallied around the “Sullivan principles,” named after the Rev. Leon Sullivan, a board member of General Motors, who tried to develop a code of conduct for businesses investing in South Africa.
In 1985, 180 House members (including 45 Democrats) voted against a nonbinding resolution calling on the apartheid regime to release Mandela. The naysayers included Dick Cheney and John McCain. In 1986 the Congress eventually passed economic sanctions over Reagan’s veto, and the pressure created the conditions for Mandela’s release and South Africa’s redemption.
This history has particular relevance now. Americans should not forget how our ideological anti-communist fervor blinded us to apartheid’s brutalities, as well as that of other dictatorships. Even as we claimed to be the champion of freedom, we were happy to embrace apartheid in the cause of anti-communism, and to compromise our principles to our interests. Across the world, the United States is now engaged in a war on terrorists, often fought with deadly drones targeting from afar. Too often we overlook or, worse, are complicit in the repression that drives people to violent resistance. Too often we fail to see that one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. It is worth remembering that the ANC stayed on the terrorist list until 2003, forcing Nelson Mandela to get a special waiver when he traveled here. And that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., like Mandela, was denounced as a communist and a terrorist, and hunted by the FBI.
So as we celebrate the extraordinary life and triumphs of this special man and remarkable leader, we should not forget that our national security agencies got him and his movement wrong. And Cold Warriors in both parties chose to close their eyes to apartheid in the name of anti-communism. It took citizen activists, a global movement, horrible sacrifice by the South African people and a courageous leader and his team to force the change.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel
Editor and publisher of the Nation magazine, vanden Heuvel writes a weekly column for The Post.
Read more from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s archive or follow her on Twitter.
Nelson Mandela’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The South African Constitution minces no words regarding access to medical care.
“Everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care,” the document declares, adding that: “The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of each of these rights.”
At a time when the United States is engaged in an archaic debate over whether to even try and provide universal access to health care, most other countries well understand the absurdity of conditioning access to basic human needs—including access to healthcare, housing and education—on the ability to pay.
That understanding was championed by Nelson Mandela, whose life and legacy is being honored this week by President Obama, members of Congress and leaders from around the world. Fittingly, the memorials for Mandela will coincide with this week’s sixty-fifth anniversary of the adoption (on December 10, 1948) by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a document that the former South African president revered as a touchstone for nation building and governing.
Mandela, a lawyer by training and a student of constitutions, steered South Africa toward a broad understanding of human rights. When his country adopted its Constitution in 1996, he announced that “the new constitution obliges us to strive to improve the quality of life of the people. In this sense, our national consensus recognizes that there is nothing else that can justify the existence of government but to redress the centuries of unspeakable privations, by striving to eliminate poverty, illiteracy, homelessness and disease. It obliges us, too, to promote the development of independent civil society structures.”
There are many reasons to honor Mandela. And there is much to be borrowed from his legacy.
But it is absolutely vital, as we focus on this man, to recall his wise words with regard to human rights—and the role that government had in assuring access to those rights.
Mandela embraced the great vision of the twentieth-century idealists who, at the end of World War II, recognized a responsibility to address the inequality that fostered fear, hatred and totalitarianism. It was an American, Eleanor Roosevelt, who reminded Americans seventy years ago that “at all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want—for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war.”
President Franklin Roosevelt, with his 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech, had begun to scope out the broader definition of human rights, speaking not just of First Amendment liberties but also of a “freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.”
After her husband’s death in 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt carried the vision forward in her dynamic role as the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She oversaw the development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that affirmed: “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”
The declaration also held out this promise: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
When the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was celebrated in 1998, Mandela addressed the UN General Assembly.
“Born in the aftermath of the defeat of the Nazi and fascist crime against humanity, this Declaration held high the hope that all our societies would, in future, be built on the foundations of the glorious vision spelt out in each of its clauses,” said Mandela, who had in the preceding decade made the transition from prisoner to president of South Africa. “For those who had to fight for their emancipation, such as ourselves who, with your help, had to free ourselves from the criminal apartheid system, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights served as the vindication of the justice of our cause. At the same time, it constituted a challenge to us that our freedom, once achieved, should be dedicated to the implementation of the perspectives contained in the Declaration.”
Mandela accepted that challenge, and explained that it remained unmet in much of the world.
“The very right to be human is denied everyday to hundreds of millions of people as a result of poverty, the unavailability of basic necessities such as food, jobs, water and shelter, education, health care and a healthy environment,” he said. “The failure to achieve the vision contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights finds dramatic expression in the contrast between wealth and poverty which characterizes the divide between the countries of the North and the countries of the South and within individual countries in all hemispheres.”
The president of South Africa was explicit in his criticism of leaders who failed—by “acts of commission and omission”—to address civil and economic injustice.
“What I am trying to say is that all these social ills which constitute an offence against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not a pre-ordained result of the forces of nature or the product of a curse of the deities. They are the consequence of decisions which men and women take or refuse to take, all of whom will not hesitate to pledge their devoted support for the vision conveyed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he explained.
Looking to the future, Mandela concluded, “The challenge posed by the next 50 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the next century whose character it must help to fashion, consists in whether humanity, and especially those who will occupy positions of leadership, will have the courage to ensure that, at last, we build a human world consistent with the provisions of that historic Declaration and other human rights instruments that have been adopted since 1948.”
The Meaning of Mandela
By the time of his death at age 95, South Africans were well prepared to keep his dream alive—that too is part of Nelson Mandela’s great legacy.
by Douglas Foster
December 5, 2013
To fully grasp the meaning of Nelson Mandela’s death, at the age of 95, imagine for a moment that his life had turned out differently. What if he’d perished as a child, like so many youngsters of his generation in the rural backwaters of the Transkei? Think of what might have happened, or not happened, if he’d died in the mines of the City of Gold, Johannesburg, where he arrived as a young man after running away from his village. Of course, he survived not only the privations of apartheid—that savage and extreme system of racial segregation—but also the long liberation struggle as well.
Should it go without saying that Mandela was not shot in the back, like demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, or gunned down in the streets like young protestors in Soweto during the June 16 uprising in 1976? Though he believed in armed struggle, and became a leader of an armed guerrilla insurrection, he escaped the fates of so many other comrades who were killed in the bush, blown to pieces by letter bombs sent by the authorities, poisoned by secret agents or hanged for treason or sabotage, which seemed the likely result when sentence was pronounced for him and other top leaders of the African National Congress after a long trial back in 1964.
Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela was spared the death penalty a half-century ago. He wasn’t forced into exile, like so many others, and did not lose his sanity or have his spirit broken from decades of imprisonment. He managed to survive tuberculosis and prostate cancer, outliving nearly all of the closest friends of his generation. Though it was once illegal to publish his photograph or quote him by name in South Africa, his image was picked as the rallying symbol of a global campaign against apartheid in a massive international organizing drive much like the effort to end slavery a century earlier. It was only natural then, and just, that when Mandela emerged from prison in 1990, he felt such a powerful sense of obligation to the fallen. It would be a shame if, in celebrating the remarkable arc of his life, we neglected to mention millions of others not lucky enough to become—like him—exceptions to old rules.
Mandela outlived not only his contemporaries but also three of his six children. He survived long enough to witness the first stages of revisionist histories written about his life and politics. This meant having to face up honestly to the myriad ways in which the grand early hopes for radical transformation ran aground. After all, in April of 1994, when democracy arrived in South Africa, advanced global capitalism and AIDS also swept in the door. This meant that structurally high rates of unemployment and rising inequality coincided with massive loss of life from the pandemic which, in turn, conspired against the aerie dream of establishing a nonracial, antisexist, non-homophobic and more egalitarian society at the southern tip of Africa.
Time has exposed Mandela’s own failings. In office, he failed to respond to the rise of HIV/AIDS. He protected cronies accused of corruption and failed to enforce distinctions between personal favors, party business and government decision-making. His dedication towards the governing party, the African National Congress, meant that he subjected himself to the policies of its “collective leadership” and, after stepping down as president in 1999, supported two flawed successors during election campaigns, tarnishing his own image in the process. In the last decade, quarrels with old comrades also spilled wince-worthy details of dodgy financial arrangements into public view. There were even lawsuits within the family over money.
Even here, though, there was a kind of backhanded tribute: these facts emerged eventually into public view. That, too, was part of Mandela’s legacy, because in spite of a deep reservoir of popular affection for Utata, or Madiba, as he’s known, he and the party never allowed the trappings of the kind of cult of personality upon which so many other liberation struggles in Africa and elsewhere have foundered. Mandela’s personal troubles, like the failures of his party, were part of the public record revealed by a free press. Nineteen years into the South African democratic experiment, there’s a vibrant civic culture that exploded to great effect in protests over the government’s former AIDS policies, an independent if quite pressurized judiciary and an impressive if embattled media.
Mandela’s way of dying also embodied an important lesson, almost as if he intended to carefully stage his own departure. Eight years ago, he’d begun plotting a long, slow fade-away from public life. In 2005, he regularly told advisers they should plan more openly for his demise. “Everybody dies,” he began to say repeatedly. In his impish, soft-spoken, teasing way, Mandela did his best to take the sting out. After he stepped down as president in 1999, rumors periodically circulated that he was dead, or dying, and then these rumors led to stockpiling of goods and fear-mongering, particularly among right-wing whites, about incipient violence. By 2013, these were the views of a vanishing few.
In 2007, he reinforced the message about his own mortality at a celebration I witnessed of his grandson’s decision to accept the post as Nkosi, or head man, of Mvezo, Mandela’s birthplace. As he struggled to be heard above a howling wind, Mandela said: “Now, I can die in peace.” There was a visible charge that ran through the family and villagers when he said this, but in the intervening years people have come to grudgingly accept the idea that a man in his mid-90s might be ready to fold up his tent.
The last time I saw Mandela at his home after the World Cup three years ago, he greeted my son and me with a well-worn line: “It’s nice that young people still come around to see an old man even though he has nothing new to say.” He loved little jokes, but here the pat phrase revealed a deeper intention, I think, to signal that it was time for young South Africans to step up and take the revolution he’d begun much further. More than half of the South Africa’s population is under 25, which means that young people grew up entirely in the new dispensation. For them, Nelson Mandela was always a grandfatherly figure; after all, he was 72 years old by the time he was released from prison.
As it turned out, this was a subject often on the mind of Mandela’s grandson, who’d taken us to see his grandfather. “Here was a man who came from nothing,” Ndaba Mandela said. “He was a young boy running around on the farms of Xhosa-land, and he became something he himself never imagined!” Now, the grandson added, it was time for the next generation to stop relying so heavily on his grandfather’s generation. He thought young South Africans needed to more forcefully tackle the demands of the poor, liberated in terms of political rights by the election of 1994 but still denied economic and social justice in a still savagely unequal society. “We are the ones who created the system,” the younger Mandela said. “The system should not create us. Ultimately, we are in a battle with ourselves.”
The elder Mandela had done his best over the years to prepare South Africans for the next stage in the struggle to create a new nation. Now it was part of his legacy that so many of his countrymen had grown tired, even angry, at being asked whether the dream of establishing a new kind of society would outlive him. Of course, the vision of creating a new kind of nation was always bigger than a single leader. To presume that he was a singular linchpin whose exceptional qualities alone were responsible for the “miracle” transition to democracy in South Africa during the 1990s was not only magical realist thinking but also profoundly ahistorical and even racist. It was perhaps his most enduring gift that this question, asked ritualistically by outsiders, should sound so silly, so wide of the mark, on the day he died. In the end, there was a period but no question mark. Would the dream survive? The answer: it already had.
Nelson Mandela's death: World mourns 'hero,' 'icon,' 'father'
By Henry Austin and Becky Bratu, NBC News
World leaders, politicians, celebrities and public figures all across the globe mourned the passing of Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and South Africa's first black president, who died Thursday at home at the age of 95.
Mandela will have a state burial on Dec. 15 in his hometown of Qunu, South African President Jacob Zuma announced Friday. Dec. 8 has been declared as a national day of prayer and reflection.
The White House announced Friday that President Obama and the First Lady will go to South Africa next week to pay their respects to Mandela and to participate in memorial events.
Freddy Ford, spokesman for President George W. Bush, said the former president and his wife will accompany the Obamas to South Africa on Air Force One for the memorial service.
Statements on Mandela's passing poured in from around the world, with Obama saying he was one of the countless millions of people who drew inspiration from Mandela's life and his "fierce dignity."
"He achieved more than could be expected of any man," Obama said, visibly emotional. "Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us," he added, referring to Mandela by his affectionately used clan name.
Zuma first announced Mandela's death, saying, "He is now resting. He is now at peace."
He added, "Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost their father."
On an April morning in 1994 in a hotel room in Johannesburg, Mandela had been elected president the night before, and Brian Williams was the first Western journalist that day to shake his hand and talk with him. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
Pope Francis on Friday sent a telegram of condolences to Zuma, paying tribute to Mandela's legacy of "promoting the human dignity of all the nation's citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth."
Mandela's longtime friend and the first black Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, also paid tribute at a church service.
"Do we want to set up a memorial for him?" he asked the congregation. "I think he wouldn't want something in stone. Ultimately he would want us, South Africans to be his memorial."
"Thank you for what he has enabled us to know what we can become," he added. "Help us to become that kind of nation."
In the United States, former presidents from Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter to Geoge W. Bush paid tribute. President George H. W. Bush said in a statement that the revered South African icon "was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country."
His son, President George W. Bush, said Mandela was "one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time," who "bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example."
Carter echoed those feelings in a statement: "His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide."
"I will never forget my friend Madiba," former President Bill Clinton tweeted, while Secretary of State John Kerry said Mandela "will be remembered as a pioneer for peace."
"Mandela's strength as a teacher is that he not only advised us what to do, he showed us how," former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said.
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was held under house arrest for 15 years, said she was grieving for a man who stood for human rights and equality.
"He made us all understand that nobody should be penalized for the color of their skin or for the circumstances in which he is born," she said. "He also made us understand we can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions."
Chinese President Xi Jinping also lauded Mandela as "a world-renowned statesman," state news agency Xinhua said. He added that the Chinese people will always remember Mandela's extraordinary contributions to, "the cause of human progress."
At the time of Nelson Mandela's death, many South Africans hadn't heard the news yet – but soon, hundreds had traveled to Nelson Mandela's home, chanting and singing the national anthem. The young people who gathered there aimed to celebrate Mandela's life, rather than dwelling in sorrow. NBC's Rohit Kachroo reports.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who witnessed the former British colony transform into a democracy after decades of violence under apartheid rule, said she was "deeply saddened" by Nelson Mandela's death. She added that he "worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today."
Upon leaving the premiere for the movie "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" that he attended with his wife Duchess Kate in London, the queen's grandson Prince William said the news of Mandela's death was "extremely sad and tragic."
"We're just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was," he said.
Actor Idris Elba, who portrayed Mandela in that movie, said he was stunned by the news. "We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him," Elba said.
Mandela's two youngest daughters were attending the film premiere when they received word of his death, and left immediately.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said his name was "always associated with the fight against the oppression of his people and with overcoming the apartheid regime. Not even years in prison could break Nelson Mandela or make him.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was saddened by the passing of the former president, whom he described as "a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration."
Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation works to fight poverty and AIDS in developing countries including South Africa, also said it had been "an honor" to meet Mandela and that they had "left each visit inspired and more optimistic about the opportunity to improve the lives of the poor throughout the world."
"From prisoner to president, Nelson Mandela was tireless in his pursuit of Equality and justice for all people," they said in a statement.
Leaders around the globe remember Nelson Mandela's fearless generosity, leadership, and remarkable force for change. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.
"His was a spirit born free, destined to soar above the rainbows. Today his spirit is soaring through the heavens," boxing legend Muhammad Ali said in a statement. He was famously pictured throwing punches with the leader in a mock fight.
"Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learned that love would do a better job," Irish musician Bono said.
"As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go," said actor Morgan Freeman, who portrayed Mandela in the movie "Invictus."
"He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness," musician Paul Simon said.
Oprah Winfrey said she was honored to have had the chance to meet Mandela. "He was everything you've ever heard and more -- humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time," Winfrey said in a statement.
Human rights advocate Martin Luther King III said, "Through his and his people's long walk to freedom, Mr. Mandela's constant fight for equality personified, what my father often said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'"
An emotional scene emerged outside of Mandela's house, where a multi-racial crowd gathered late into the night, singing liberation songs, chanting and waving flags.
Johannesburg resident Hamsa Moosa, 31, told The Associated Press he "wouldn't be free" if not for Mandela.
"I feel relieved on his soul that finally he is able to rest, finally he is able to be in a peaceful situation," Ouma Mpela of Cape Town, said.
Thirty-two-year-old Johannesburg resident Salmon Matlou said, "I don't know what's going to happen but I'm scared because we like him so much and now he's gone."
"It feels like it's my father who has died. He was such a good man, who had good values the nation could look up to. He was a role model unlike our leaders of today," said Annah Khokhozela, 37, a nanny, speaking in Johannesburg.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison and led his country to democracy. Though he was in power for only five years as his country's first black president, his moral influence earned him the praise and respect of people all over the world.
"His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better," Obama said.
NBC News' Claudio Lavanga contributed to this report.
Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, on July 18, 1918, to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, principal counsellor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo.
His father died when he was a child and the young Rolihlahla became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni. Hearing the elder’s stories of his ancestor’s valour during the wars of resistance, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.
He attended primary school in Qunu where his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the name Nelson, in accordance with the custom to give all school children “Christian” names.
He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated.
Nelson Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest. He completed his BA through the University of South Africa and went back to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943.
On his return to the Great Place at Mkhekezweni the King was furious and said if he didn’t return to Fort Hare he would arrange wives for him and his cousin Justice. They ran away to Johannesburg instead arriving there in 1941. There he worked as a mine security officer and after meeting Walter Sisulu, an estate agent, who introduced him to Lazar Sidelsky. He then did his articles through the firm of attorneys Witkin Eidelman and Sidelsky.
Meanwhile he began studying for an LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand. By his own admission he was a poor student and left the university in 1948 without graduating. He only started studying again through the University of London and also did not complete that degree.
In 1989, while in the last months of his imprisonment, he obtained an LLB through the University of South Africa. He graduated in absentia at a ceremony in Cape Town.
Nelson Mandela, while increasingly politically involved from 1942, only joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped formed the ANC Youth League.
In 1944 he married Walter Sisulu’s cousin Evelyn Mase, a nurse. They had two sons Madiba Thembekile ‘Thembi’ and Makgatho and two daughters both called Makaziwe, the first of whom died in infancy. They effectively separated in 1955 and divorced in 1958.
Nelson Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its work the ANC adopted in 1949 a more radical mass-based policy, the Programme of Action.
In 1952 he was chosen at the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign with Maulvi Cachalia as his Deputy. This campaign of civil disobedience against six unjust laws was a joint programme between the ANC and the South African Indian Congress. He and 19 others were charged under the Suppression of Communism Act for their part in the campaign and sentenced to nine months hard labour suspended for two years.
A two-year diploma in law on top of his BA allowed Nelson Mandela to practice law and in August 1952 he and Oliver Tambo established South Africa’s first black law firm, Mandela and Tambo.
At the end of 1952 he was banned for the first time. As a restricted person he was only able to secretly watch as the Freedom Charter was adopted at Kliptown on 26 June 1955.
Nelson Mandela was arrested in a countrywide police swoop of 156 activists on 5 December 1955, which led to the 1956 Treason Trial. Men and women of all races found themselves in the dock in the marathon trial that only ended when the last 28 accused, including Mr. Mandela were acquitted on 29 March 1961.
On 21 March 1960 police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest at Sharpeville against the pass laws. This led to the country’s first state of emergency on 31 March and the banning of the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress on 8 April. Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in the Treason Trial were among the thousands detained during the state of emergency.
During the trial on 14 June 1958 Nelson Mandela married a social worker Winnie Madikizela. They had two daughters Zenani and Zindziswa. The couple divorced in 1996.
Days before the end of the Treason Trial Nelson Mandela travelled to Pietermaritzburg to speak at the All-in Africa Conference, which resolved he should write to Prime Minister Verwoerd requesting a non-racial national convention, and to warn that should he not agree there would be a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic. As soon as he and his colleagues were acquitted in the Treason Trial Nelson Mandela went underground and began planning a national strike for 29, 30 and 31 March. In the face of a massive mobilization of state security the strike was called off early. In June 1961 he was asked to lead the armed struggle and helped to establish Umkhonto weSizwe (Spear of the Nation).
On 11 January 1962 using the adopted name David Motsamayi, Nelson Mandela left South Africa secretly. He travelled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962. He was arrested in a police roadblock outside Howick on 5 August while returning from KwaZulu-Natal where he briefed ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli about his trip.
He was charged with leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to strike. He was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment which he began serving in Pretoria Local Prison. On 27 May 1963 he was transferred to Robben Island and returned to Pretoria on 12 June. Within a month police raided a secret hide-out in Rivonia used by ANC and Communist Party activists and several of his comrades were arrested.
In October 1963 Nelson Mandela joined nine others on trial for sabotage in what became known as the Rivonia Trial. Facing the death penalty his words to the court at the end of his famous ‘Speech from the Dock’ on 20 April 1964 became immortalized:
“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.”
On 11 June 1964 Nelson Mandela and seven other accused Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni were convicted and the next day were sentenced to life imprisonment. Denis Goldberg was sent to Pretoria Prison because he was white while the others went to Robben Island.
Nelson Mandela’s mother died in 1968 and his eldest son Thembi in 1969. He was not allowed to attend their funerals.
On 31 March 1982 Nelson Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town with Sisulu, Mhlaba and Mlangeni. Kathrada joined them in October. When he returned to the prison in November 1985 after prostate surgery Nelson Mandela was held alone. Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee had visited him in hospital. Later Nelson Mandela initiated talks about an ultimate meeting between the apartheid government and the ANC.
In 1988 he was treated for Tuberculosis and was transferred on 7 December 1988 to a house at Victor Verster Prison near Paarl. He was released from its gates on Sunday 11 February 1990, nine days after the unbanning of the ANC and the PAC and nearly four months after the release of the remaining Rivonia comrades. Throughout his imprisonment he had rejected at least three conditional offers of release.
Nelson Mandela immersed himself into official talks to end white minority rule and in 1991 was elected ANC President to replace his ailing friend Oliver Tambo. In 1993 he and President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize and on 27 April 1994 he voted for the first time in his life.
On 10 May 1994 he was inaugurated South Africa’s first democratically elected President. On his 80th birthday in 1998 he married Graça Machel, his third wife.
True to his promise Nelson Mandela stepped down in 1999 after one term as President. He continued to work with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund he set up in 1995 and established the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela-Rhodes Foundation.
In April 2007 his grandson Mandla Mandela became head of the Mvezo Traditional Council at a ceremony at the Mvezo Great Place.
Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived, to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
OM AC CC OJ GCStJ QC GCH BR RSO NPK
President of South Africa
10 May 1994 – 14 June 1999.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]; 18 July 1918--5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the South African National Party came to power in 1948, he rose to prominence in the ANC's 1952 Defiance Campaign, was appointed superintendent of the organisation's Transvaal chapter and presided over the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Mandela published his autobiography and opened negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory. As South Africa's first black president Mandela formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to defuse racial tension. He also promulgated a new constitution and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. Continuing the former government's liberal economic policy, his administration introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Denounced as a Marxist terrorist by critics, he nevertheless gained international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata ("Father"); he is often described as "the father of the nation".
Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa's Cape Province. Given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning "troublemaker", in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba. His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was ruler of the Thembu people in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa's modern Eastern Cape province. One of this king's sons, named Mandela, became Nelson's grandfather and the source of his surname. Because Mandela was only the king's child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan, a so-called "Left-Hand House", the descendants of his cadet branch of the royal family were morganatic, ineligible to inherit the throne but recognized as hereditary royal councillors. His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch; he had been appointed to the position in 1915, after his predecessor was accused of corruption by a governing white magistrate. In 1926, Gadla, too, was sacked for corruption, but Nelson was told that he had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate's unreasonable demands. A devotee of the god Qamata, Gadla was a polygamist, having four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different villages. Nelson's mother was Gadla's third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, who was daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a member of the amaMpemvu clan of Xhosa.
"No one in my family had ever attended school [...] On the first day of school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why this particular name I have no idea."
— Mandela, 1994
Later stating that his early life was dominated by "custom, ritual and taboo", Mandela grew up with two sisters in his mother's kraal in the village of Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with other boys. Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was about seven. Baptised a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of "Nelson" by his teacher. When Mandela was about nine, his father came to stay at Qunu, where he died of an undiagnosed ailment which Mandela believed to be lung disease. Feeling "cut adrift", he later said that he inherited his father's "proud rebelliousness" and "stubborn sense of fairness".
His mother took Mandela to the "Great Place" palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted under the guardianship of Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their son Justice and daughter Nomafu. As Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians, Christianity became a significant part of his life. He attended a Methodist mission school located next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history and geography. He developed a love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace, and became influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Chief Joyi. At the time he nevertheless considered the European colonialists as benefactors, not oppressors. Aged 16, he, Justice and several other boys travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo the circumcision ritual that symbolically marked their transition from boys to men; the rite over, he was given the name Dalibunga.
Law studies and the ANC Youth League: 1943–1949
Beginning law studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Mandela was the only native African student, and though facing racism, he befriended liberal and communist European, Jewish, and Indian students, among them Joe Slovo, Harry Schwarz and Ruth First. Joining the ANC, Mandela was increasingly influenced by Sisulu, spending much time with other activists at Sisulu's Orlando house, including old friend Oliver Tambo. In 1943, Mandela met Anton Lembede, an African nationalist virulently opposed to a racially united front against colonialism and imperialism or to an alliance with the communists. Despite his friendships with non-blacks and communists, Mandela supported Lembede's views, believing that black Africans should be entirely independent in their struggle for political self-determination. Deciding on the need for a youth wing to mass mobilise Africans in opposition to their subjugation, Mandela was among a delegation that approached ANC President Alfred Bitini Xuma on the subject at his home in Sophiatown; the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was founded on Easter Sunday 1944 in the Bantu Men's Social Centre in Eloff Street, with Lembede as President and Mandela as a member of the executive committee.
At Sisulu's house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, an ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei, who was training at the time to become a nurse. Married on 5 October 1944, after initially living with her relatives, they rented House no. 8115 in Orlando from early 1946. Their first child, Madiba "Thembi" Thembekile, was born in February 1945, and a daughter named Makaziwe was born in 1947, dying nine months later of meningitis. Mandela enjoyed home life, welcoming his mother and sister Leabie to stay with him. In early 1947, his three years of articles ended at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman, and he decided to become a full-time student, subsisting on loans from the Bantu Welfare Trust.
In July 1947, Mandela rushed Lembede to hospital, where he died; he was succeeded as ANCYL president by the more moderate Peter Mda, who agreed to co-operate with communists and non-blacks, appointing Mandela ANCYL secretary. Mandela disagreed with Mda's approach, in December 1947 supporting an unsuccessful measure to expel communists from the ANCYL, considering their ideology un-African. In 1947, Mandela was elected to the executive committee of the Transvaal ANC, serving under regional president C.S. Ramohanoe. When Ramohanoe acted against the wishes of the Transvaal Executive Committee by co-operating with Indians and communists, Mandela was one of those who forced his resignation.
In the South African general election, 1948, in which only whites were permitted to vote, the Afrikaner-dominated Herenigde Nasionale Party under Daniel François Malan took power, soon uniting with the Afrikaner Party to form the National Party. Openly racialist, the party codified and expanded racial segregation with the new apartheid legislation. Gaining increasing influence in the ANC, Mandela and his cadres began advocating direct action against apartheid, such as boycotts and strikes, influenced by the tactics of South Africa's Indian community. Xuma did not support these measures and was removed from the presidency in a vote of no confidence, replaced by James Moroka and a more militant cabinet containing Sisulu, Mda, Tambo and Godfrey Pitje; Mandela later related that "We had now guided the ANC to a more radical and revolutionary path." Having devoted his time to politics, Mandela failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times; he was ultimately denied his degree in December 1949.
Congress of the People and the Treason Trial: 1955–1961
Main article: Treason Trial
"We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people."
— Opening words of the Freedom Charter
Mandela came to the opinion that the ANC "had no alternative to armed and violent resistance" after taking part in the unsuccessful protest to prevent the demolition of the all-black Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg in February 1955. He advised Sisulu to request weaponry from the People's Republic of China, but though supporting the anti-apartheid struggle, China's government believed the movement insufficiently prepared for guerilla warfare. With the involvement of the South African Indian Congress, the Coloured People's Congress, the South African Congress of Trade Unions and the Congress of Democrats, the ANC planned a Congress of the People, calling on all South Africans to send in proposals for a post-apartheid era. Based on the responses, a Freedom Charter was drafted by Rusty Bernstein, calling for the creation of a democratic, non-racialist state with the nationalisation of major industry. When the charter was adopted at a June 1955 conference in Kliptown attended by 3000 delegates, police cracked down on the event, but it remained a key part of Mandela's ideology.
On 5 December 1956, Mandela was arrested alongside most of the ANC Executive for "high treason" against the state. Held in Johannesburg Prison amid mass protests, they underwent a preparatory examination in Drill Hall on 19 December, before being granted bail. The defence's refutation began on 9 January 1957, overseen by defence lawyer Vernon Berrangé, and continued until adjourning in September. In January 1958, judge Oswald Pirow was appointed to the case, and in February he ruled that there was "sufficient reason" for the defendants to go on trial in the Transvaal Supreme Court. The formal Treason Trial began in Pretoria in August 1958, with the defendants successfully applying to have the three judges – all linked to the governing National Party – replaced. In August, one charge was dropped, and in October the prosecution withdrew its indictment, submitting a reformulated version in November which argued that the ANC leadership committed high treason by advocating violent revolution, a charge the defendants denied.
In April 1959, militant Africanists dissatisfied with the ANC's united front approach founded the Pan-African Congress (PAC); Mandela's friend Robert Sobukwe was elected president, though Mandela thought the group "immature". Both parties campaigned for an anti-pass campaign in May 1960, in which Africans burned the passes that they were legally obliged to carry. One of the PAC-organized demonstrations was fired upon by police, resulting in the deaths of 69 protesters in the Sharpeville massacre. In solidarity, Mandela publicly burned his pass as rioting broke out across South Africa, leading the government to proclaim martial law. Under the State of Emergency measures, Mandela and other activists were arrested on 30 March, imprisoned without charge in the unsanitary conditions of the Pretoria Local prison, and the ANC and PAC were banned in April. This made it difficult for their lawyers to reach them, and it was agreed that the defence team for the Treason Trial should withdraw in protest. Representing themselves in court, the accused were freed from prison when the state of emergency was lifted in late August. Mandela used his free time to organise an All-In African Conference near Pietermaritzburg, Natal, in March, at which 1,400 anti-apartheid delegates met, agreeing on a stay-at home protest to mark 31 May, the day South Africa became a republic. On 29 March 1961, after a six-year trial, the judges produced a verdict of not guilty, embarrassing the government.
Umkhonto we Sizwe and African tour: 1961–1962
Mandela House in the Johannesburg township of Soweto is the former home of Nelson and Winnie Mandela. This was Mandela's home before his 27-year imprisonment, and his home immediately after being released from prison. The property is now a national museum.
Disguising himself as a chauffeur, Mandela travelled the country incognito, organising the ANC's new cell structure and a mass stay-at-home strike for 29 May. Referred to as the "Black Pimpernel" in the press – a reference to Emma Orczy's 1905 novel The Scarlet Pimpernel – the police put out a warrant for his arrest. Mandela held secret meetings with reporters, and after the government failed to prevent the strike, he warned them that many anti-apartheid activists would soon resort to violence through groups like the PAC's Poqo. He believed that the ANC should form an armed group to channel some of this violence, convincing both ANC leader Albert Luthuli – who was morally opposed to violence – and allied activist groups of its necessity.
Inspired by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement in the Cuban Revolution, in 1961 Mandela co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation", abbreviated MK) with Sisulu and the communist Joe Slovo. Becoming chairman of the militant group, he gained ideas from illegal literature on guerilla warfare by Mao and Che Guevara. Officially separate from the ANC, in later years MK became the group's armed wing. Most early MK members were white communists; after hiding in communist Wolfie Kodesh's flat in Berea, Mandela moved to the communist-owned Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, there joined by Raymond Mhlaba, Slovo and Bernstein, who put together the MK constitution. Although Mandela himself denied ever being a Communist Party member, historical research has suggested that he might have been for a short period, starting from the late 1950s or early 1960s. After his death, the Communist Party and the ANC confirmed that he was a Communist Party member when he was arrested in 1962.
Operating through a cell structure, the MK agreed to acts of sabotage to exert maximum pressure on the government with minimum casualties, bombing military installations, power plants, telephone lines and transport links at night, when civilians were not present. Mandela himself stated that they chose sabotage not only because it was the least harmful action, but also "because it did not involve loss of life [and] it offered the best hope for reconciliation among the races afterward." He noted that "strict instructions were given to members of MK that we would countenance no loss of life", but should these tactics fail, MK would resort to "guerilla warfare and terrorism".
Soon after ANC leader Luthuli was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the MK publicly announced its existence with 57 bombings on Dingane's Day (16 December) 1961, followed by further attacks on New Year's Eve.
The ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Traveling there in secret, Mandela met with Emperor Haile Selassie I, and gave his speech after Selassie's at the conference. After the conference, he travelled to Cairo, Egypt, admiring the political reforms of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and then went to Tunis, Tunisia, where President Habib Bourguiba gave him £5000 for weaponry. He proceeded to Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal, receiving funds from Liberian President William Tubman and Guinean President Ahmed Sékou Touré. Leaving Africa for London, England, he met anti-apartheid activists, reporters and prominent leftist politicians. Returning to Ethiopia, he began a six-month course in guerrilla warfare, but completed only two months before being recalled to South Africa.
"In a way I had never quite comprehended before, I realized the role I could play in court and the possibilities before me as a defendant. I was the symbol of justice in the court of the oppressor, the representative of the great ideals of freedom, fairness and democracy in a society that dishonoured those virtues. I realized then and there that I could carry on the fight even in the fortress of the enemy."
— Mandela, 1994
"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. "
— Rivonia Trial Speech, 1964
End of apartheid
Main article: Negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa
Early negotiations: 1990–1991
In May 1990, Mandela led a multiracial ANC delegation into preliminary negotiations with a government delegation of 11 Afrikaner men. Mandela impressed them with his discussions of Afrikaner history, and the negotiations led to the Groot Schuur Minute, in which the government lifted the state of emergency. In August Mandela – recognising the ANC's severe military disadvantage – offered a ceasefire, the Pretoria Minute, for which he was widely criticised by MK activists. He spent much time trying to unify and build the ANC, appearing at a Johannesburg conference in December attended by 1600 delegates, many of whom found him more moderate than expected. At the ANC's July 1991 national conference in Durban, Mandela admitted the party's faults and announced his aim to build a "strong and well-oiled task force" for securing majority rule. At the conference, he was elected ANC President, replacing the ailing Tambo, and a 50-strong multiracial, mixed gendered national executive was elected.
Mandela was given an office in the newly purchased ANC headquarters at Shell House, central Johannesburg, and moved with Winnie to her large Soweto home. Their marriage was increasingly strained as he learned of her affair with Dali Mpofu, but he supported her during her trial for kidnapping and assault. He gained funding for her defence from the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa and from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but in June 1991 she was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to two on appeal. On 13 April 1992, Mandela publicly announced his separation from Winnie. The ANC forced her to step down from the national executive for misappropriating ANC funds; Mandela moved into the mostly white Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. Mandela's reputation was further damaged by the increase in "black-on-black" violence, particularly between ANC and Inkatha supporters in KwaZulu-Natal, in which thousands died. Mandela met with Inkatha leader Buthelezi, but the ANC prevented further negotiations on the issue. Mandela recognised that there was a "third force" within the state intelligence services fuelling the "slaughter of the people" and openly blamed de Klerk – whom he increasingly distrusted – for the Sebokeng massacre. In September 1991 a national peace conference was held in Johannesburg in which Mandela, Buthelezi and de Klerk signed a peace accord, though the violence continued.
CODESA talks: 1991–1992
The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began in December 1991 at the Johannesburg World Trade Center, attended by 228 delegates from 19 political parties. Although Cyril Ramaphosa led the ANC's delegation, Mandela remained a key figure, and after de Klerk used the closing speech to condemn the ANC's violence, he took to the stage to denounce him as "head of an illegitimate, discredited minority regime". Dominated by the National Party and ANC, little negotiation was achieved. CODESA 2 was held in May 1992, in which de Klerk insisted that post-apartheid South Africa must use a federal system with a rotating presidency to ensure the protection of ethnic minorities; Mandela opposed this, demanding a unitary system governed by majority rule. Following the Boipatong massacre of ANC activists by government-aided Inkatha militants, Mandela called off the negotiations, before attending a meeting of the Organisation of African Unity in Senegal, at which he called for a special session of the UN Security Council and proposed that a UN peacekeeping force be stationed in South Africa to prevent "state terrorism". The UN sent special envoy Cyrus Vance to the country to aid negotiations. Calling for domestic mass action, in August the ANC organised the largest-ever strike in South African history, and supporters marched on Pretoria.
Following the Bisho massacre, in which 28 ANC supporters and one soldier were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force during a protest march, Mandela realised that mass action was leading to further violence and resumed negotiations in September. He agreed to do so on the conditions that all political prisoners be released, that Zulu traditional weapons be banned, and that Zulu hostels would be fenced off, the latter two measures to prevent further Inkatha attacks; under increasing pressure, de Klerk reluctantly agreed. The negotiations agreed that a multiracial general election would be held, resulting in a five-year coalition government of national unity and a constitutional assembly that gave the National Party continuing influence. The ANC also conceded to safeguarding the jobs of white civil servants; such concessions brought fierce internal criticism. The duo agreed on an interim constitution, guaranteeing separation of powers, creating a constitutional court, and including a US-style bill of rights; it also divided the country into nine provinces, each with its own premier and civil service, a concession between de Klerk's desire for federalism and Mandela's for unitary government.
The democratic process was threatened by the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG), an alliance of far-right Afrikaner parties and black ethnic-secessionist groups like Inkatha; in June 1993 the white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) attacked the Kempton Park World Trade Centre. Following the murder of ANC leader Chris Hani, Mandela made a publicised speech to calm rioting, soon after appearing at a mass funeral in Soweto for Tambo, who had died from a stroke. In July 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk visited the US, independently meeting President Bill Clinton and each receiving the Liberty Medal. Soon after, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. Influenced by young ANC leader Thabo Mbeki, Mandela began meeting with big business figures, and played down his support for nationalisation, fearing that he would scare away much-needed foreign investment. Although criticised by socialist ANC members, he was encouraged to embrace private enterprise by members of the Chinese and Vietnamese Communist parties at the January 1992 World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Mandela also made a cameo appearance as a schoolteacher reciting one of Malcolm X's speeches in the final scene of the 1992 film Malcolm X.
General election: 1994
Main article: South African general election, 1994
Concerned that COSAG would undermine the election, particularly in the wake of the Battle of Bop and Shell House Massacre – incidents of violence involving the AWB and Inkatha, respectively – Mandela met with Afrikaner politicians and generals, including P.W. Botha, Pik Botha and Constand Viljoen, persuading many to work within the democratic system, and with de Klerk convinced Inkatha's Buthelezi to enter the elections rather than launch a war of secession. As leaders of the two major parties, de Klerk and Mandela appeared on a televised debate; although de Klerk was widely considered the better speaker at the event, Mandela's offer to shake his hand surprised him, leading some commentators to consider it a victory for Mandela. The election went ahead with little violence, although an AWB cell killed 20 with car bombs. Mandela voted at the Ohlange High School in Durban, and though he was elected President, he publicly accepted that the election had been marred by instances of fraud and sabotage. Having taken 62% of the national vote, the ANC was just short of the two-thirds majority needed to unilaterally change the constitution. The ANC was also victorious in 7 provinces, with Inkatha and the National Party each taking another.
Presidency of South Africa: 1994–1999
Main article: Presidency of Nelson Mandela
Mandela's inauguration took place in Pretoria on 10 May 1994, televised to a billion viewers globally. The event was attended by 4000 guests, including world leaders from disparate backgrounds. South Africa's first black President, Mandela became head of a Government of National Unity dominated by the ANC – which alone had no experience of governance – but containing representatives from the National Party and Inkatha. In keeping with earlier agreements, de Klerk became first Deputy President, and Thabo Mbeki was selected as second. Although Mbeki had not been his first choice for the job, Mandela grew to rely heavily on him throughout his presidency, allowing him to organise policy details. Moving into the presidential office at Tuynhuys in Cape Town, Mandela allowed de Klerk to retain the presidential residence in the Groote Schuur estate, instead settling into the nearby Westbrooke manor, which he renamed "Genadendal", meaning "Valley of Mercy" in Afrikaans. Retaining his Houghton home, he also had a house built in his home village of Qunu, which he visited regularly, walking around the area, meeting with locals, and judging tribal disputes.
NELSON MANDELA SPEAKS:
(Video links below)
Nelson Mandela's Speech, made on the stairs of the Cape Town City Hall, 11 Febuary 1990 opposite the Grand Parade and a stones throw from the Castle. This was the official day of his release from prison in which he traveled to Cape Town and made his freedom speech on the steps of the Cape Town City Hall.
NELSON MANDELA SPEAKS:
This is a 1990 Town Hall meeting with Nelson Mandela of South Africa anchored by Ted Koppel on ABC Nightline in New York that aired on that national network in the U.S. on June 21, 1990. The Town Hall took place at the City College of New York (CCNY)
This meeting was among the many programs planned for the first visit of Nelson Mandela to USA, immediately after he was released after 27 years in prison.
This was an extraordinary and pivotal event during Mr. Mandela's national tour of the United States in 1990 following his release from prison and once again reveals the greatness and profound independence and visionary CLARITY of the man and the liberation movement he led. Clearly, Madiba was that (very) rare national leader who understood that the bedrock principles of courage, honesty, toughness, and INTEGRITY are by far the most important values that any real leader can possess and Mr. Mandela possessed them in abundance... This video is an inspiring example of that fact.
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
NELSON MANDELA SPEAKS:
PART 2 OF THE JUNE 21, 1990 TOWN HALL MEETING TELECAST ON ABC:
NELSON MANDELA SPEAKS AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY AFTER RECEIVING AN HONORARY DEGREE THERE IN 1998:
This is from Harvard's website:
"On September 18, 1998, at a rare, special convocation at which he was presented with an honorary degree, President Nelson Mandela spoke to a crowd of 25,000 in Tercentenary Theatre, calling on citizens of the world’s developed nations to partner with emerging democracies to alleviate hunger, poverty and disease."
NELSON MANDELA'S FIRST TV INTERVIEW FROM 1961 IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Nelson Mandela, in the early 1960s, before he was sentenced in 1964 to life in prison for sabotage. Reuters/Landov
Unearthing Lost Mandela Audio, Giving Voice To Lost Stories
by JOE RICHMAN
December 05, 2013
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
On April 20, 1964, in a stuffy South African courtroom, Nelson Mandela stood up and, rather than testify in his own defense at his sabotage trial, gave a marathon speech.
"I am prepared to die," he said.
Those are the last five words of the speech, and they are well-known today. Less well-known are the 10,693 other words in that speech, which lasted four hours.
Mandela: An Audio History
In 2004, All Things Considered aired a five-part series on South Africans' struggle against apartheid, containing rare sound recordings of Mandela as well as those who fought with and against him. Hear That Special Report
Visit The Website
An audio recording of the speech was made by a court stenographer on a Dictabelt, a plastic recording that was never intended to preserve history. The recording was lost and forgotten for almost four decades, until it was discovered in the basement archive of the South African Broadcasting Corp. in Johannesburg.
I know that basement well. It may sound odd, but I spent many happy weeks there in 2003 surrounded by stacks of reel-to-reel tapes, searching for sound to tell the history of apartheid for our series Mandela: An Audio History.
I remember one day, trying to listen to a reel of tape that was in bad shape and had no label. I kept splicing the tape back together so it would play. Soon I realized I was listening to a raw recording of the opening statement by prosecutors at Mandela's trial. It had never been broadcast before. Most people — even those who had been on trial — didn't know the tape existed.
Many of the trial recordings had been erased decades earlier by the white government. It was thrilling to hear the actual words. But it wasn't until somebody in the courtroom coughed that I could really hear the echo and dimensions of the room, the stillness of the afternoon, the hushed anticipation of the trial. The cough put me in that courtroom.
From that basement and many others, we collected 50 hours of archival recordings for our series on Mandela, and we conducted many more hours of contemporary interviews.
The original plan was to do a comprehensive biography of a man. But with every archival recording we found, every interview we did, the story veered slowly away from Nelson Mandela as an individual and more toward a collective history.
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
Mandela did the same thing in his own life.
When he uttered those now-famous words in 1964 — "I am prepared to die" — he was speaking not only for his seven co-defendants but also for a growing movement.
Mandela was effectively appointed as the symbol of the struggle against apartheid. In interviews after he was released in 1990, Mandela would often avoid using the first person. He resisted talking about himself, consistently referring to the party.
As a radio producer, I am drawn to the hidden and untold stories of history. I remember standing in that basement archive, surrounded by tapes, thinking about all the stories that might be lost on unmarked reels, and all the stories that were never recorded.
Mandela was the voice for all of them.
Joe Richman is the founder of Radio Diaries and the producer of Mandela: An Audio History, along with Sue Jaye Johnson and Ben Shapiro. You can listen to the entire series at mandelahistory.org.
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
As The World Watches, Mandela Is Buried In His Humble Village
Under a sunny African sky, Nelson Mandela was buried Sunday on a hill overlooking his beloved boyhood village. Members of his clan, national leaders and a global audience bid farewell to the man who transformed his country and became one of the world's most revered figures.
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013