Nelson Mandela Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Date of Birth: July 18, 1918
Place of Birth: Mvezo, Mthatha district, South Africa
Died: N/A
Place of Death: N/A
Classification: Leaders & Revolutionaries

BiographyShelf - Nelson Mandela

Short Biography of Nelson Mandela

Committed to non-violence and an end to apartheid, Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa after spending 18 years in prison on Robben Island, and 27 years in prison altogether. But, his rise to become one of the world’s most prominent advocates of peace and racial harmony for all mankind was a rocky road, often laced with violent armed resistance once he saw that civil disobedience was getting him and his fellow Afrikaner nowhere.

Born in a small village would have its disadvantages for the rearing and schooling of young Nelson. But, thanks to his father’s position as a councillor to the king, when Nelson’s father died, the new King Jongintaba Dalindyebo adopted him as his own, ensuring he would continue his schooling, which he did, at the Clarkebury Boarding Institute.

At Fort Hare University, where Mandela would be kicked out for his involvement in a sit-in, he met Oliver Tambo, who would become Mandela’s ally and best friend. Upon leaving university, Mandela had to flee to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage set up by the king. While there, he completed his studies, became a lawyer, and helped blacks pro bono in many court cases where they might not have had representation.

In the autobiography of Nelson Mandela entitled A Long Walk to Freedom, he touches upon the political and emotional strife that led him from a proponent of non-violence to forming a group he called the Umkhonto we Sizwe, which was modeled after Jewish guerilla warfare tactics. In raising funds for the newly established movement, he traveled extensively through Africa, namely to Algeria and Ghana where he received financial support and weapons for the cause.

Once the South African government caught him, they put him on trial and sentenced him on the grounds of treason. Not only did he write his own autobiography in prison, but also he aided a journalist who wrote a biography called Mandela: The Authorized Biography. Upon his release, he gave a speech declaring that the battle was not over, that the fight to end apartheid would continue, pushing the need for non-violent measures, but not completely canceling out armed conflict should it be needed. In 1994, Mandela became the president of South Africa where he worked endlessly to end minority rule and apartheid. During his latter years, he has also worked hard to fight the AIDS epidemic in his country and in other parts of Africa.

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