A short course about Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation.
Who is Nelson Mandela?
Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.
Nelson Mandela > Internal resistance to apartheid6/45
Internal resistance to apartheid in South Africa originated from several independent sectors of South African society and alternatively took the form of social movements, passive resistance, or guerrilla warfare.
Nelson Mandela > Internal resistance to apartheid7/45
Mass action against the ruling National Party government, coupled with South Africa's growing international isolation and economic sanctions, were instrumental factors in ending racial segregation and discrimination.
Nelson Mandela > Internal resistance to apartheid8/45
Both black and white South African activists such as Steve Biko, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Harry Schwarz, and Joe Slovo were involved with various anti-apartheid causes.
Nelson Mandela > Internal resistance to apartheid9/45
By the 1980s, there was continuous interplay between violent and non-violent action, and this interplay was a notable feature of resistance against apartheid from 1983 until South Africa's first multiracial elections under a universal franchise in 1994.
Nelson Mandela > Apartheid10/45
Apartheid (lit. "separateness") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.
Nelson Mandela > Apartheid11/45
Between 1987 and 1993, the National Party entered into bilateral negotiations with the African National Congress, the leading anti-apartheid political movement, for ending segregation and introducing majority rule.
Nelson Mandela > Apartheid12/45
Nelson Mandela > Apartheid13/45
In 1990, prominent ANC figures such as Nelson Mandela were released from prison. Apartheid legislation was repealed on 17 June 1991, pending fully democratic, multiracial elections set for April 1994.
Nelson Mandela > President of South Africa14/45
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state, head of government and the commander-in-chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) under the Constitution of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela > President of South Africa15/45
The President is elected by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, and is usually the leader of the largest party, which has been the African National Congress since the first non-racial elections were held on 27 April 1994.
Nelson Mandela > President of South Africa16/45
The Constitution limits the president's time in office to two five-year terms. The first president to be elected under the new constitution was Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela > President of South Africa17/45
The incumbent is Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018 following the resignation of Jacob Zuma.
Nelson Mandela > Presidency of Nelson Mandela18/45
The presidency of Nelson Mandela began on 10 May 1994, when Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, lawyer, and former political prisoner, was inaugurated as President of South Africa, and ended on 14 June 1999.
Nelson Mandela > Presidency of Nelson Mandela19/45
He was the first non-white head of state in South African history, as well as the first to take office following the dismantling of the apartheid system and the introduction of multiracial democracy.
Nelson Mandela > Presidency of Nelson Mandela20/45
Mandela was also the oldest head of state in South Africa's history, taking office at the age of seventy-five.
Nelson Mandela > African National Congress21/45
Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent President of South Africa, has served as leader of the ANC since 18 December 2017.
was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s
Nelson Mandela > Thembu people23/45
The Thembu people are one of the handful of nations and population groups that speak Xhosa in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela > Thembu people24/45
The most internationally famous Thembu person was Nelson Mandela, whose father was a reigning nobleman from a junior branch of the Madiba clan of kings. Walter Sisulu was also of Thembu descent from his mother's side.
Nelson Mandela > Constitution of South Africa25/45
The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the government.
Nelson Mandela > Constitution of South Africa26/45
The current constitution, the country's fifth, was drawn up by the Parliament elected in 1994 in the South African general election, 1994.
Nelson Mandela > Constitution of South Africa27/45
It was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997, replacing the Interim Constitution of 1993.
Nelson Mandela > Nelson Mandela Foundation28/45
The Nelson Mandela Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Nelson Mandela in 1999 to promote Mandela's vision of freedom and equality for all. The chairman is professor Njabulo Ndebele.
A Xhosa, Mandela was born to the Thembu royal family in Mvezo, British South Africa. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg.
There he became involved in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics, joining the ANC in 1943 and co-founding its Youth League in 1944.
After the National Party's white-only government established apartheid, a system of racial segregation that privileged whites, he and the ANC committed themselves to its overthrow.
Mandela was appointed President of the ANC's Transvaal branch, rising to prominence for his involvement in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People.
He was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the 1956 Treason Trial.
Influenced by Marxism, he secretly joined the banned South African Communist Party (SACP). Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the SACP he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961 and led a sabotage campaign against the government.
He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962, and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state following the Rivonia Trial.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison.
Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990.
Mandela and de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president.
Leading a broad coalition government which promulgated a new constitution, Mandela emphasised reconciliation between the country's racial groups and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses.
Economically, Mandela's administration retained its predecessor's liberal framework despite his own socialist beliefs, also introducing measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services.
Internationally, he acted as mediator in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial and served as Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
He declined a second presidential term, and in 1999 was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman and focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the charitable Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Although critics on the right denounced him as a communist terrorist and those on the far-left deemed him too eager to negotiate and reconcile with apartheid's supporters, he gained international acclaim for his activism.
Widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, he received more than 250 honours—including the Nobel Peace Prize—and became the subject of a cult of personality.
He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, and described as the "Father of the Nation".
You might also want to learn about:
John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever and more
Herman Cain, 9–9–9 Plan, Herman Cain 2012 presidential campaign and more
Ernest Hemingway, Iceberg theory, American literature and more
Bolivia, Peru, Simón Bolívar and more