Rolihlahla Mandela who later became Nelson was born in “Black” Transkei, South Africa in the village of Qunu, on July 18, 1918.
Mandela was born to Gadla Henery Mgadia Mandela, a chief councillor and Nosekeni Nkedama. Mandela’s father became ill and died but before he passed away he told Mandela that he needed to get a good education because of his assumed responsibility to the chief councillor. His mother felt that she was unable to teach him to be a man so she gave him to his father’s cousin who was able to teach him to become a great man and a leader of South Africa.
Nelson’s boyhood was peaceful and was spent cattle herding and engaging in other rural pursuits. Nelson Mandela was influenced by his African heritage of ritual and taboo. His values and attitudes were shaped by traditions and his royal privileges.
A former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election, who held office from 1994 to 1999. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and on June 12, 1964, he along with 8 others was sentenced to life imprisonment.
From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off the coast of Cape Town; thereafter, he was at Pollsmoor Prison, nearby on the mainland. During his years in prison, Nelson Mandela’s reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength.
He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom.
In 1985, President P.W. Botha offered to release Mandela, on the condition that he renounced violence. Mandela refused, saying, “Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Only free men can negotiate.”
F.W. De Klerk became president in 1989 and began to dismantle the policies of apartheid and release the ANC prisoners. On Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison.
Mandela was named president of the ANC and in 1993 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The following year, the ANC emerged victorious in South Africa’s first democratic elections with universal suffrage. Mandela was named the first president of the post-apartheid South Africa.
Mandela’s leadership through the negotiations, as well as his relationship with President F.W. De Klerk was recognised when they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Mandela became the oldest elected President of South Africa when he took office at the age of 75 in 1994. He decided not to stand for a second term unlike most African leaders, who usually seek a presidency for life. He retired in 1999, to be succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.
Nelson Mandela was appointed an Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998. He become an honorary Canadian citizen on 20 Nov ember 2001, making it the first time in history that the distinction has been given to a living person from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien during a ceremony at Ottawa’s Museum of Civilization.
He was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen one of the few foreigners to receive the honour. Parliament passed the motion on June 7, in recognition of his “great moral leadership to South Africa and to all humanity.”
In 2002, Canada awarded Mandela a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and in 2012 a Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Mandela holds honorary degrees from three Canadian universities: York and Ryerson in Toronto and Queen’s in Kingston, Ontario.
On International Nelson Mandela Day, July 18, 2013 (his 95th birthday) Canadians were asked to devote 67 minutes to a charitable cause in honour of his 67 years of service to his community.
The King died on Dec. 5 at the age of 95. He will be greatly missed.
President Jacob Zuma announced the passing at 8:50pm local time in South Africa.
Nelson Rolihlahla Madela sadly passed away on Dec.5, 2013 at home in Houghton, South Africa.
President Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali & Other Celebrities Remember Mandela
“We’ve lost one of the most influential courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages,” President Barack Obama
Nelson Mandela’s Inspirational Quotes
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”