Nelson Mandela: A Detailed Biography

Mandela was born in 1918 in Transkei and is father happened to be a chief of Mvezo town, but unfortunately he died when Mandela was very young. The name of the father was Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa a much focused man in then region at that time. It was after the death of his father that Mandela moved from his home village to another environment which shaped his personality and structured the systems of all his values to a better and a reliable person. Mandela was a very hard working person and this is the reason as to why he managed to get great achievements even up to his point of death. He never had financial support from his family background; since, he came from a humble background and he his helpless mother could not afford paying for his school fees. However, despite his poor background, Mandela was determined to help his society attain freedom of speech, equality to all citizens who lived in South Africa and end to discrimination to the blacks (Wyk, Mandela & Bouma, 2014). Mandela worked in coal mines in Johannesburg and managed to fund his BA at the University of South Africa and later he opened a law firm where he could help his fellow blacks with free counsel on how to handle the situations at hand. It was a wrong perception to the Afrikaners who through then whites were better than than them; since, they were more privileged and in power as well. People could not think of fighting for their own freedom, they were content for they thought they were free, but in the real sense they were under Apartheid rule led by the colonists. The Apartheid rule came with segregation of Africans who could nit school in the same schools as the whites and could not vote or vie for a parliamentary seat. Mandela took the responsibility of fighting for the freedom of the Afikaners in South African because; he could not bear seing his people suffer that much under the Apartheid rule.

Mandela’s walk of struggle

Mandela was a lawyer when he joined the ANC party and lived like a fugitive in his own country due to the many struggles that he got involved in. Mandela was a hard working man ever since he joined the ANC and he led to many changes that positively affected then lives of many.  It was not Mandela’s choice to be political activists, but as time moved on he found himself to be a member of the ANC party in South Africa as well as an activist. This party is comprised of people from all races in nature and it is all because; of the party believe that equality is a key factor in politics; since, it helps in putting an end to racist segregation. Mandela participated in activities like Defiance Campaign, Youth League as well as he organized many strikes with the aim of securing better working conditions for all races (Wyk, Mandela & Bouma, 2014). Mandela never surrendered at any time, he was determined in getting his own achievement that led him to prison and later he become a national hero recognized in the whole world. He was determined in fighting for the freedom of South Africa until the end of his days and this is then reason as to why he could not surrender at all.

Mandela and some of his friends were really tortured and were later convicted due to lack of evidence that could set them free from prison. They were forced to stay in prison for very many years under torture and to some extend they tried reversing the context of the trial as a way of blackmailing the government. However, Mandela was found guilty of planning a guerrilla attack as well as co-founding MK’s armed movement and this led to his lifetime sentences to prison. MK was then military wing of the ANC and was used in fighting for the freedom of the South Africans who were really oppressed and discriminated by the whites (Wyk, Mandela & Bouma, 2014). Through the use of the civil causalities MK was able to organize for the sabotage campaign against the military and government targets. Mandela sought for finances that could be used in facilitating activities of MK in different African nations and received training on how to go about then struggle in Addis Ababa. Unfortunately, on his arrival back home, he was arrested before he could pass the techniques he had acquired with his fellow colleagues. It was during this time that Mandela was convicted again and sentenced to a lifetime imprisonment in Robben Island. In the prison, Mandela and his fellow colleagues still fought for freedom and the stop of Apartheid system that was still practiced. Their struggle made them to be acknowledged as the world famous political prisoners and it’s never too long that the prisoners looked as if they headed the prisons themselves due to the hard work that they had employed. It was in prison that prisoners were able to learn the history of different parties and all movements in South Africa; hence, Mandela used this as an opportunity of correcting all the misconception that could exist between his party and radical change.

Police were on the other side determined in silencing the party and they began by arresting all the prominent leaders of ANC party. It was so serves that the ones who never got arrested flee the country with an immediate effect. On the other side the toll of the armed struggle was on the rise as well as MK’s Sabotage was increasing on a daily basis (Elba, Harris & Chadwick, 2014. The young people got angry and started to rebel against all the liberation movement, but Mandela believed that one day victory of his country will be achieved.

The end of crisis in South Africa

Mandela sought the opinion of the international public on how he could fight smart to attain freedom of his country and he believed that he could get the support of others (Elba, Harris & Chadwick, 2014). He believed that he could at least get a reputable opinion in the international flat form that could guarantee him then success to his victory. It was right for Mandela to seek international opinion due to the Sharpeville Massacre that had taken place as well leading to 400 people wounded and 99 dead. It was this time that national security was really sought through the achievement of justice and equality of all races as Nelson Mandela desired the most. Many people had lost their lives out of inequality and injustice in the country and this drove Nelson Mandela to seek for freedom and peace of his country through the help of other nations. There were some amendments that had been made in the segregation laws of the National Party and this made them unable to be supported by the international community in fighting for freedom in their country. The ANC members were confused either to carry negotiations with the racist government or not, but when they did it resulted in the release of the prisoners. There were amendments that were done on laws and regulations leading to end of sanctions that had been imposed by the ANC to then government (Northup, 2015).

It was in 1990 when the release of Mandela took place after being imprisoned for 27 years and tortured as well in his fight for struggle. His release led to many changes in the country as well as calling a state of emergency by the government. However, it was not a release, according to Mandela’s opinion because; he had no right of voting or taking his children to a school of his choice, could not vote and could not choose the place he preferred to live. ANC sought all means of electing its own president and this gave Mandela a chance to be the first black president of South Africa on 24th April 1994 whereby, they knew by getting one of their own as a leader they were near attainment of freedom as well (Northup, 2015). After securing the presidential seat, Mandela changed all the laws of the country towards attainment of the freedom in the whole country while was very inevitable. There was a highly political discrimination and Apartheid policies in the county whose effects are felt to date. The country through the help of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation is still healing, the wounds that were caused during the Apartheid rule; since, some people were denied privileges of going to school and they are poor up to date. If they could have enjoyed the privileges of schooling, they could now be having better jobs that can sustain the high cost of living and funds their child’s education as well. It was until the time that the country was ready to let go its past that it achieved its political equality through high determination employed by Mandela and his fellow colleagues in the fight for freedom.  It took many years fighting for freedom, but fortunately at the end all was achieved.

The strategy of non-violent mass struggle

The mass struggle was initiated by Gandhi when he was working in Johannesburg in 1906 and when Mandel came along with the ANC party; he also joined then same movement towards ending the apartheid rule. An armed wing for ANC was formed after Mandela and his colleagues realized that the mass strategy could not yield to the solution that they were really yearning for. It was during this time that MK was established as well with Mandela being the leader due to his aggressiveness that he had earlier portrayed (Mandela, 2013). All the prevailing conditions could have affected their strategy and this is then reason as to why then decided to form an armed wing. Gandhi had dealt with more realistic and far-sighted foreign power and Mandela saw him as a role model even though, the tactics that Gandhi had used in India could not be applied in South Africa. On the other side, he also admired the tactics used by Martin Luther the king, but it was different compared to his case because; America had constitutional guarantees of equal rights to all with no prejudice against blacks while this was not the case in South Africa. It was evident that the tactics that Martin Luther the King had used could not be applicable in an Apartheid rule system. There was a high urge to develop a non-violent culture as evident in nations like the Iraq, Nepal and Sudan where war was increasing on a daily basis. Mandela wanted to attain freedom for the Afrikaners, but he never wanted to cause war that could lead to the killing of innocent victims and civilians as well.   

How MK movement was organized for violence

The long walk to freedom was emulated from the tension that was highly growing in Lebanon and how they dealt with the situation at hand (Mandela, 2013). Mandela and his fellow colleagues managed to put an end to the Apartheid rule in 1994 after a long struggle and this achievement helped them to see some light in the midst of their darkest hour of struggle. They were ready to make any amendments that were ready to ensure that they heal the wounds of many Afrikaners who had suffered for ages.  Mandela managed to attain a regime that advocates for unity of all colors and people of different races in South Africa. They could now visit the same hospitals and get medical attention with no discrimination of colour and race. Mandela was successful; since he knew his new goal of fighting for then freedom of his people and this geared him to initiate a struggle towards achieving it. He had realized that obtaining political rights was a long term process and despite all this he knew that he could actually attain his goal one day. He wanted the blacks and the whites to be all equal in aspects of life and do activities the same way (Mandela, 2003). During then enforcement of the Apartheid rule, the blacks were really oppressed by the whites the armed mass struggle fought to attain freedom for the whole nation and equality for all to be given the rights to vote and vie in parliament.

Mandela campaigned to be a president of South Africa with the aim of helping his fellow colleagues who were really suffering. Mandela focused on making life better in the future for all and he never wanted to rely on what had happened in the past.  The society knew that he was a competent leader and if given the chance to be their president, they could enjoy a lot of freedom and privileges as well. After Mandela became the president of South Africa, many changes were evident whereby he was able to start a National Unity Government, which advocated for agreement in decision making and helping the poor by ensuring that they enjoy privileges enjoyed by the rich. He advised his colleagues to ensure that they emphasize on all citizens to work towards achieving a higher collective interest in improving then country economy level (Mandela, 2003). Mandela wanted a transparent government even he loved the white leaders, but he was not impressed at all by their system of ruling that they employed for use. The system of the ruling was the reason as to why Mandela worked hard to stop that type of ruling in his country. Mandel wanted his country to enjoy the spread of democracy where one could be given the privilege of choosing who to marry and do his work with no fear of discrimination.

Mandela suffered a lot to attain the freedom of his country and his sufferings became the inseparable from all the tactics he used to struggle for freedom. Mandel became a fugitive and a vagabond due to high fight towards freedom for his nation. He was ready to be homeless for him to ensure that his people get home and all the privileges of being in their own country.



Elba, I., Harris, N., & Chadwick, J. (2014). Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom [DVD]. Retrived on 2nd Octomber 2015 from

Mandela, N. (2003). Long Walk To Freedom Vol 2: 1962-1994: Triumph of Hope, 1962-1994 v. 2. Abacus; New Ed edition

Mandela, N. (2013). Long Walk To Freedom. Little, Brown

Northup, S. (2015). 12 Years a Slave. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Wyk, C., Mandela, N., & Bouma, P. (2014). Long Walk to Freedom (Picture Book Edition). Macmillan Children’s Books; Main Market Ed. Edition


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