Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela passed away
Nelson Mandela (95), South African anti-apartheid icon passed away at his residence at Johannesburg. The death of the great statesman is being mourned by his nation and the world with tributes flooding in from the leaders and people all over the globe.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela:
Born: July 18, 1918 to the Thembu royal family belonging to Xhosa clan.Sobriquet:The Father of the Nation (South Africa), Madiba, or as Tata (“Father”). He studied law at Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand. Joined anti-colonial politics and the African National Congress (ANC) and became a founding member of its Youth League.
- Politically he was a nationalist and democratic socialist.
- In 1948, when the South African National Party came to power, he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, was appointed superintendent of the organisation’s Transvaal chapter and headed the 1955 Congress of the People.
- Repeatedly arrested on the charges of sedition and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961.
- Arrested in 1962 and convicted of conspiracy to subvert the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.
- Spent 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison.
- In 1990, he was released following escalating pressure from an international campaign for his release and growing civil tension.
- Initiated talks with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory.
- In 1994, he became South Africa’s first black president and formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to defuse racial tension.
- He also promulgated a new constitution and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses.
- His government took initiatives with liberal economic policy and took steps to promote land reforms, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services.
- Served as the President of the ANC from 1991 to 1997.
- Served Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
- Acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and supervised military intervention in Lesotho.
- He didn’t contest for a second term, and subsequently became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in fighting poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Awards and Honors:
Mandela was showered with several national and international honors from countries and organizations across the globe. He received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin, and the Bharat Ratna.