Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela In office 10 May 1994 – 14 June 1999 Deputy Thabo Mbeki Frederik Willem de KlerkPreceded by Frederik Willem de Klerk As State President of South AfricaSucceeded by Thabo Mbeki 19th Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement In office 2 September 1998 – 14 June 1999Preceded by Andrés Pastrana ArangoSucceeded by Thabo Mbeki Born 18 July 1918 (age 92) Mvezo, Union of South Africa Birth name Rolihlahla Mandela Nationality South AfricanPolitical party African National Congress Spouse(s) Evelyn Ntoko Mase (1944–1957) Winnie Madikizela (1957–1996) Graça Machel (1998–present)
Residence Houghton Estate,Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa Alma mater University of Fort Hare University of London External System University of South Africa University of the Witwatersrand Religion Methodism Signature Website Mandela FoundationNelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]; born 18 July 1918) served as President of South Africa from 1994to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela wasan anti-apartheidactivist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrestedand convicted ofsabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these yearson Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racialdemocracy in 1994. As president from 1994 to 1999, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation.In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name; or as tata (Xhosa: father). Mandela has received more than 250awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.Early lifeNelson Mandela belongs to a cadet branch of the Thembu dynasty, which reigns in the Transkei region of South Africas Eastern CapeProvince. He was born in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata. He has Khoisan ancestry on his mothersside. His patrilineal great-grandfatherNgubengcuka (who died in 1832), ruled as the Inkosi Enkhulu, or king, of the Thembu people. One of thekings sons, named Mandela, became Nelsons grandfather and the source of his surname. However, because he was only the Inkosis child by awife of the Ixhiba clan (the so-called "Left-Hand House"), the descendants of his branch of the royal family were not eligible to succeed to theThembu throne.Mandelas father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as chief of the town of Mvezo. However, upon alienating the colonial authorities, theydeprived Mphakanyiswa of his position, and moved his family to Qunu. Despite this, Mphakanyiswa remained a member of the Inkosis PrivyCouncil, and served an instrumental role in Jongintaba Dalindyebos ascension to the Thembu throne. Dalindyebo would later return the favour byinformally adopting Mandela upon Mphakanyiswas death. Mandelas father had four wives, with whom he fathered thirteen children (four boys
and nine girls). Mandela was born to his third wife (third by a complex royal ranking system), Nosekeni Fanny. Fanny was a daughter ofNkedama of the Mpemvu Xhosa clan, the dynasticRight Hand House, in whose umzi or homestead Mandela spent much of hischildhood. His given name Rolihlahla means "to pull a branch of a tree", or more colloquially, "troublemaker".Rolihlahla Mandela became the first member of his family to attend a school, where his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the English name"Nelson".When Mandela was nine, his father died of tuberculosis, and the regent, Jongintaba, became his guardian. Mandela attended aWesleyan missionschool located next to the palace of the regent. Following Thembu custom, he was initiated at age sixteen, and attended Clarkebury BoardingInstitute. Mandela completed his Junior Certificate in two years, instead of the usual three.Designated to inherit his fathers position as aprivy councillor, in 1937 Mandela moved to Healdtown, the Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort which most Thembu royalty attended. Atnineteen, he took an interest in boxing and running at the school.After enrolling, Mandela began to study for a Bachelor of Arts at the Fort Hare University, where he met Oliver Tambo. Tambo and Mandelabecame lifelong friends and colleagues. Mandela also became close friends with his kinsman, Kaiser ("K.D.") Matanzimawho, as royal scion of theThembu Right Hand House, was in line for the throne of Transkei, a role that would later lead him to embrace Bantustan policies. His support ofthese policies would place him and Mandela on opposing political sides. At the end of Nelsons first year, he became involved in a StudentsRepresentative Council boycott against university policies, and was told to leave Fort Hare and not return unless he accepted election to theSRC. Later in his life, while in prison, Mandela studied for aBachelor of Laws from the University of London External Programme.Shortly after leaving Fort Hare, Jongintaba announced to Mandela and Justice (the regents son and heir to the throne) that he had arrangedmarriages for both of them. The young men, displeased by the arrangement, elected to relocate to Johannesburg. Upon his arrival, Mandelainitially found employment as a guard at a mine. However, the employer quickly terminated Mandela after learning that he was the Regentsrunaway ward. Mandela later started work as an articled clerk at a Johannesburg law firm, Witkin, Sidelsky and Edelman, through connectionswith his friend and mentor, realtor Walter Sisulu. While working at Witkin, Sidelsky and Edelman, Mandela completed his B.A. degree atthe University of South Africa via correspondence, after which he began law studies at the University of Witwatersrand, where he first befriendedfellow students and future anti-apartheid political activists Joe Slovo, Harry Schwarz and Ruth First. Slovo would eventually become MandelasMinister of Housing, while Schwarz would become his Ambassador to Washington. During this time, Mandela lived in Alexandra township, northof Johannesburg.Political activityAfter the 1948 election victory of the Afrikaner-dominated National Party, which supported the apartheid policy of racial segregation, Mandelabegan actively participating in politics. He led prominently in the ANCs 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People, whoseadoption of the Freedom Charterprovided the fundamental basis of the anti-apartheid cause. During this time, Mandela and fellowlawyer Oliver Tambo operated the law firm of Mandela and Tambo, providing free or low-cost legal counsel to many blacks who lacked attorneyrepresentation.
Mahatma Gandhi influenced Mandelas approach, and subsequently the methods of succeeding generations of South African anti-apartheidactivists. (Mandela later took part in the 29–30 January 2007 conference in New Delhi marking the 100th anniversary of Gandhisintroduction of satyagraha (non-violent resistance) in South Africa).Initially committed to nonviolent resistance, Mandela and 150 others were arrested on 5 December 1956 and charged with treason. Themarathon Treason Trial of 1956–1961 followed, with all defendants receiving acquittals. From 1952–1959, a new class of black activists knownas the Africanists disrupted ANC activities in the townships, demanding more drastic steps against the National Party regime.  The ANCleadership under Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu felt not only that the Africanists were moving too fast but also that theychallenged their leadership. The ANC leadership consequently bolstered their position through alliances with small White, Coloured, and Indianpolitical parties in an attempt to give the appearance of wider appeal than the Africanists.  The Africanists ridiculed the 1955 FreedomCharter Kliptown Conference for the concession of the 100,000-strong ANC to just a single vote in a Congressional alliance. Four secretaries-general of the five participating parties secretly belonged to the reconstituted South African Communist Party (SACP). In 2003 BladeNzimande, the SACP General Secretary, revealed that Walter Sisulu, the ANC Secretary-General, secretly joined the SACP in 1955 which meantall five Secretaries General were SACP and thus explains why Sisulu relegated the ANC from a dominant role to one of five equals.In 1959, the ANC lost its most militant support when most of the Africanists, with financial support from Ghana and significant political supportfrom the Transvaal-based Basotho, broke away to form the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) under the direction of Robert Sobukwe and PotlakoLeballo.Armed anti-apartheid activitiesIn 1961 Mandela became leader of the ANCs armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (translated Spear of the Nation, and also abbreviated MK), which heco-founded. He coordinated sabotage campaigns against military and government targets, making plans for a possible guerrilla war if thesabotage failed to end apartheid. Mandela also raised funds for MK abroad and arranged forparamilitary training of the group.Fellow ANC member Wolfie Kadesh explains the bombing campaign led by Mandela: "When we knew that we [sic] going to start on 16 December1961, to blast the symbolic places of apartheid, like pass offices, native magistrates courts, and things like that ... post offices and ... the governmentoffices. But we were to do it in such a way that nobody would be hurt, nobody would get killed."Mandela said of Wolfie: "His knowledge ofwarfare and his first hand battle experience were extremely helpful to me."Mandela described the move to armed struggle as a last resort; years of increasing repression and violence from the state convinced him thatmany years of non-violent protest against apartheid had not and could not achieve any progress.Later, mostly in the 1980s, MK waged a guerrilla war against the apartheid government in which many civilians became casualties. Mandelalater admitted that the ANC, in its struggle against apartheid, also violated human rights, sharply criticising those in his own party who attemptedto remove statements supporting this fact from the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Until July 2008 Mandela and ANC party members were barred from entering the United States—except to visit the United Nations headquartersin Manhattan—without a special waiver from the US Secretary of State, because of their South African apartheid government era designationas terrorists.
ImprisonmentMandela was imprisoned on Robben Island where he remained for the next eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison. While in jail, hisreputation grew and he became widely known as the most significant black leader in South Africa. On the island, he and others performed hardlabour in a lime quarry.Prison conditions were very basic. Prisoners were segregated by race, with black prisoners receiving the fewestrations. Political prisoners were kept separate from ordinary criminals and received fewer privileges. Mandela describes how, as a D-groupprisoner (the lowest classification) he was allowed one visitor and one letter every six months. Letters, when they came, were often delayed forlong periods and made unreadable by the prison censors.Whilst in prison Mandela undertook study with the University of London by correspondence through its External Programme and received thedegree ofBachelor of Laws. He was subsequently nominated for the position of Chancellor of the University of London in the 1981 election, butlost to Princess Anne.In his 1981 memoir Inside BOSS secret agent Gordon Winter describes his involvement in a plot to rescue Mandela from prison in 1969: thisplot was infiltrated by Winter on behalf of South African intelligence, who wanted Mandela to escape so they could shoot him during recapture.The plot was foiled byBritish Intelligence.In March 1982 Mandela was transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison, along with other senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, AndrewMlangeni,Ahmed Kathrada and Raymond Mhlaba. It was speculated that this was to remove the influence of these senior leaders on the newgeneration of young black activists imprisoned on Robben Island, the so-called "Mandela University". However, National Party minister KobieCoetsee says that the move was to enable discreet contact between them and the South African government. In February 1985 President P.W. Botha offered Mandela his freedom on condition that he unconditionally rejected violence as a politicalweapon.Coetsee and other ministers had advised Botha against this, saying that Mandela would never commit his organisation to giving up thearmed struggle in exchange for personal freedom. Mandela indeed spurned the offer, releasing a statement via his daughter Zindzi saying"What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter intocontracts."The first meeting between Mandela and the National Party government came in November 1985 when Kobie Coetsee met Mandela in VolksHospital in Cape Town where Mandela was recovering from prostate surgery. Over the next four years, a series of tentative meetings tookplace, laying the groundwork for further contact and future negotiations, but little real progress was made.In 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison and would remain there until his release. Various restrictions were lifted and people suchas Harry Schwarz were able to visit him. Schwarz, a friend of Mandela, had known him since university when they were in the same law class. Hewas also a defence barrister at the Rivonia Trial and would become Mandelas ambassador to Washingtonduring his presidency.Throughout Mandelas imprisonment, local and international pressure mounted on the South African government to release him, under theresounding slogan Free Nelson Mandela! In 1989, South Africa reached a crossroads when Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced aspresident by Frederik Willem de Klerk. De Klerk announced Mandelas release in February 1990.
Mandela was visited several times by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, while at Robben Island and later at Pollsmoorprison. Mandela had this to say about the visits: "to me personally, and those who shared the experience of being political prisoners, the Red Crosswas a beacon of humanity within the dark inhumane world of political imprisonment." ReleaseOn 2 February 1990, State President F. W. de Klerk reversed the ban on the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations, and announced thatMandela would shortly be released from prison. Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl on 11 February 1990. The event wasbroadcast live all over the world.On the day of his release, Mandela made a speech to the nation. He declared his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the countryswhite minority, but made it clear that the ANCs armed struggle was not yet over when he said "our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with theformation of the military wing of the ANC (Umkhonto we Sizwe) was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors whichnecessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiatedsettlement would be created soon, so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle."He also said his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in both national and local elections.NegotiationsFollowing his release from prison, Mandela returned to the leadership of the ANC and, between 1990 and 1994, led the party in the multi-partynegotiations that led to the countrys first multi-racial elections.In 1991, the ANC held its first national conference in South Africa after its unbanning, electing Mandela as President of the organisation. His oldfriend and colleague Oliver Tambo, who had led the organisation in exile during Mandelas imprisonment, became National Chairperson.Mandelas leadership through the negotiations, as well as his relationship with President F. W. de Klerk, was recognised when they were jointlyawarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. However, the relationship was sometimes strained, particularly so in a sharp exchange in 1991 when hefuriously referred to De Klerk as the head of "an illegitimate, discredited, minority regime". The talks broke down following the Boipatongmassacre in June 1992 when Mandela took the ANC out of the negotiations, accusing De Klerks government of complicity in thekillings. However, talks resumed following the Bisho massacre in September 1992, when the spectre of violent confrontation made it clear thatnegotiations were the only way forward.Following the assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani in April 1993, there were renewed fears that the country would erupt inviolence. Mandela addressed the nation appealing for calm, in a speech regarded as presidential even though he was not yet president of thecountry at that time. Mandela said "tonight I am reaching out to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being. Awhite man, full of prejudice and hate, came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink ofdisaster. A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice, this assassin. The cold-blooded murder ofChris Hani has sent shock waves throughout the country and the world. ...Now is the time for all South Africans to stand together against thosewho, from any quarter, wish to destroy what Chris Hani gave his life for – the freedom of all of us". While some riots did follow theassassination, the negotiators were galvanised into action, and soon agreed that democratic elections should take place on 27 April 1994, just overa year after Hanis assassination.
Presidency of South AfricaSouth Africas first multi-racial elections in which full enfranchisement was granted were held on 27 April 1994. The ANC won 62% of the votes inthe election, and Mandela, as leader of the ANC, was inaugurated on 10 May 1994 as the countrys first black President, with the National Partysde Klerk as his first deputyand Thabo Mbeki as the second in the Government of National Unity. As President from May 1994 until June 1999,Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national andinternational reconciliation. Mandela encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated Springboks (the South Africannational rugby team) as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. (This is the theme of the 2009 film Invictus.) After the Springboks wonan epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaarsown number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.After assuming the presidency, one of Mandelas trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as "Madiba shirts", even on formaloccasions. In South Africas first post-apartheid military operation, Mandela ordered troops into Lesotho in September 1998 to protect thegovernment of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. This came after a disputed election prompted fierce opposition threatening the unstablegovernment. Commentators and critics including AIDS activists such as Edwin Cameron have criticised Mandela for his governmentsineffectiveness in stemming the AIDS crisis. After his retirement, Mandela admitted that he may have failed his country by not paying moreattention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Mandela has since spoken out on several occasions against the AIDS epidemic.