Nelson Mandela, the first-ever black president of Africa, was born on 18th July 1918. Remembering the great legend on his birth anniversary. Nelson Mandela is a Nobel winner and a recognised leader globally for his work in the field of upliftment of black people in Africa and around the world.
Situations in African History
Africa was initially a country with had policies which discriminated people on grounds of colour and race. This was the primary reason for the pitiable situation of black people in Africa. They were not given equal status in the society and were prohibited to move in too many public places.
The whites people who were very less in number than black people were in charge of society and lawmakers. They would abuse, exploit and discriminate the black people. Law hurdled the blacks people to enter schools, hospitals, beaches & religious places etc where controls were dominant by whites. The white reserved places had better facilities for white people.
This system that separated the livelihood of white people from black people was called apartheid. Nelson Mandela grew up to become a young boy, while this was the situation in Africa. Being a black guy himself, he was concerned about the situations of the society and the people around him.
Nelson’s Concern for the Blacks
When Nelson Mandela was a young man, the livelihood and black people in South Africa was way too different because of the system called apartheid(a policy or system which segregates or discriminates people on basis of race). The situations were so severe that the black people were not even allowed to vote in the elections. Mandela wanted to bring a change in society to provide for equal rights for everyone.
To fuel his efforts in the direction of upliftment of African society, Mandela joined a political party called the African National Congress (ANC). This was the start of his political career which later Madela to co-found the ANC Youth League which lead the protests against apartheid. The league would conduct demonstrations to spread awareness in the society regarding equalities and abolishing apartheid policies.
Years in Jail
At times, demonstrations went violent. This lead to the arrest of Nelson Mandela. Apparently, in 1964, the Mandela was sentenced for life imprisonment and was kept confined in Robben Island Prison Facility. While he was in prison, his photos were banned in the country and even taking his name or quoting him in public was a criminal offence.
This brought up a worldwide revolution amongst his followers and people started campaigning for his release. Concerts were held to support his release and even songs were written about him.
After spending, 27 years in prison, in 1990, the then White President of South Africa, FW de Klerk. On his release, he was greeted as a Hero for promoting his message of forgiveness and equality. As a result, Apartheid Policies were abolished in 1991 and black people were given equal rights in the society including the right to vote.
In the year 1993, Nelson Mandela was awarded Nobel Peace Prize – the highest honour of its kind – for his work in the field of upliftment of downtrodden people and fostering the idea of equality and non-discrimination.
First Black President of Africa
In 1994, Africa’s first elections were conducted across the nation where black people were given equal rights to vote. Nelson Mandela became the president as the results of the election. Mandela’s government focused on eradicating the legacy of apartheid by eliminating institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation with policies based on equalities. He was president from 1994 to 1999. During 1995, the Rugby World Cup was held in South Africa and Mandela supported the country’s team in the event. The team was mostly made up of white men.
Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 years, on 5th December 2013. He helped to make South Africa a fairer place for everyone and he is remembered around the world for his message of equality and forgiveness.
His birthday was declared as Mandela Day by the United Nations (UN) to honours Mandela’s achievements. It has been celebrated every year since 2009.
UN believes that everyone is capable and should take responsibility to make the world the better. They say that Mandela Day is an occasion to get inspiration and take action for change.