The role and career of Nelson Mandela in the fight against apartheid

The role and career of Nelson Mandela in the fight against apartheid
  • Nelson Mandela Madiba was born in 1918 of the royal family of a Thembu Chief at Umutata in Transkei.
  • He went to a Methodist school for his lower education. He latter got a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Hare University College.




  • At his free time, Mandela studied law at the University of Witwatersrand where he graduated as a lawyer.
  • Mandela was supposed to become a chief among the Thembu. But he made up his mind not to rule the oppressed people.
  • Mandela run to Johannesburg town when his guardian, the Paramount chief was arranging to chose for him a girl for marriage.
  • In Johannesburg he joined with fellow lawyers such as Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu to formed a law firm.
  • Mandela joined the youth league of A.N.C while in Johannesburg together with Oliver Tambo, Antonne Lebende and Walter Sisulu.
  • In 1947 Mandela was made the secretary of A.N.C and after five years in 1952 he was elected the president of A.N.C Transvaal Branch.




  • Mandela together with others drafted a freedom charter that emphasized that ‘South Africa was for all who live in it, regardless of the colour of their skin’.
  • Through the Freedom charter Mandela called for human rights and equitable resource distribution in South Africa.
  • In 1956 Mandela organized strikes and boycotts against the whites. However, he was arrested but released soon.
  • Fear of another arrest, Mandela changed to the peaceful approach. In fact he went under ground and only appeared to address meetings in different parts of a country.
  • Mandela called for three day sit -down strike for morning the Africans that were killed at Sharpeville.
  • The killing of innocent Africans forced Mandela to change again to a military/ violent approach.
  • In 1961, Mandela with his friends formed “The Umukotha We Sizwe” (the spear of the nation). This was a military wing of the ANC and it carried several strikes on the apartheid regime.
  • In 1962 , Mandela secretly left for Ethiopia to attend a Pan African congress from where he made the evils of the apartheid regime known to the out side world.




  • Mandela visited London and briefed the leaders of both the liberal party and the labour party on the suffering of Africans in South Africa at hand of whites.
  • In 1962, Mandela was charged for treason and inciting African workers to strike. On 05th August 1962, he was imprisoned on the Robben Island.
  • In 1964 Mandela was brought to Court, he stood as a defendant lawyer a made a great speech in condemnation of the apartheid and promised to fight it to death.
  • As a result of the above Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment at Robben Island.
  • In 1982, Mandela was transferred to another prison in Cape Town due to internal pressure on the South African apartheid regime.
  • Mandela wrote against apartheid while in prison.
  • In 1990, Mandela was released from prison by President F.W. De Clerk and he immediately started his struggle against apartheid.




  • Through negotiations with President F.W De Clerk, reforms were made in the constitution and political parties were allowed to operate again.
  • In 1994, ANC led by Mandela contested for the presidency and won a sounding victory in the first ever public elections.
  • Mandela thus became the first Black president of South Africa.

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