Nelson Mandela – Symbol of freedom and equality (Part 1)

Nelson Mandela was great not only because of the struggle and unyielding years in the prison, the journey to abolish the Apartheid regime or the national reconciliation effort. He was immortal because he built the foundations for democracy in South Africa.

From prisoner to president

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was born in a prison family in the village of Mvezo, Umtata district, capital of Transkei state, South Africa with the name Rolihlahla Mandela. Seven and a half years old, he went to school. During the first day of school, the white teacher gave him the English name Nelson. By the end of his life, Nelson Mandela still did not understand what that name meant and why the teacher gave him that name.

Nelson Mandela – Symbol of freedom and equality

The father died when Nelson was 9, another chief adopted him. In his memoir “Long Walk To Freedom”, Nelson Mandela recounted that it was the time he was raised and educated strictly to be a “successor”.

After graduating from high school, Nelson attended Fort Hare University, the “nursery” of South African intellectuals. Nelson studied hard and actively participated in sports activities. In the last academic year (1941), he was forced to leave the school because he did not succumb to the mischief of the director in the election of the Student Council Executive Committee.

Nelson came to work at a law firm and attended correspondence at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg. Despite spending too little money, Nelson still owes accommodation fee every month. Nelson had to wear the old suit his boss gave him for 5 years with lots of patches.

Life in Johannesburg opened for Nelson a new world. He was painfully aware: An African child was born only in a maternity home for Africans, only to board a bus for Africans, only in the designated area for Africans, to go to school only and find jobs for Africans and can always be stopped in the middle of the road, if he/she doesn’t bring identification cards he/she can be thrown into the jail.