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Nelson Mandela 

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Name at Birth: Rolihlahla Mandela

 

Known As: Nelson Mandela

 

Birthday: 18 July 1918

 

Place of Birth: Mvezo, South Africa

 

Died:  5 December 2013

Best Known For: Being the first black president of South Africa  

 

The heroic Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 in South Africa. When Nelson was growing up, South Africa was divided by separation laws called apartheid. These laws stated that black people and white people should be treated differently. Even though most of the people that lived in South Africa were black, the all-white government told them how to live. Black and people of colour were treated unfairly and were only allowed to work in very low paying jobs. Black people and non-white people had to live in townships which were poorly built houses and shacks that often were without running water, fitted toilets or electricity. Black people were not allowed to vote, eat in the same restaurants or go to the same schools as white people; it was also against the law for black and white people to be married. If any of these laws were broken by a black person they would be arrested and sent to prison. Nelson Mandela knew that the unfair treatment of a group of people because of the colour of their skin was wrong so he decided to fight for the rights of black and non-white people.  

 

Nelson Mandela along with Oliver Tambo (a very important anti-apartheid Politician) started  South Africa’s first Black law firm to help poor people who had been treated unfairly.  Nelson Mandela was the leader of the Africa National Congress a political party dedicated to equality; through protests and speeches they tried to stop apartheid. Nelson was told by the government that he was not allowed to travel the country encouraging people to stand up for their rights. Nelson along with many others had been put in prison a number of times for disobeying the government and speaking out about injustice. Nelson knew that if he was caught teaching or protesting against the government that he would be thrown in prison but he felt that the freedom of his people was more important than his own.

 

In 1964 Nelson Mandela was found guilty of treason (going against the government) and sentenced to life in prison. Nelson spent 27 years in prison but because he had done so much for the people of South Africa many people around the world protested for his freedom! In 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison. In 1991 Nelson Mandela became the leader of the ANC. In 1994 all black people were given the right to vote. Nelson Mandela had done so much for his country that in the 1994 election Nelson Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa. He was known to be a wonderful and fair president, he worked on the human rights of the people who had been affected by apartheid, and he also improved the living standards, housing and education for the people of South Africa.