Who was Nelson Mandela?
Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s 1st black president. He was in prison for 27 years because he tried to bring down the pro-apartheid government. There was an international campaign for his release. He was finally released in 1990 and became the country’s president from 1994 to 1999.
Nelson Mandela Awards
Mandela has received over 695 awards, including the Nobel Prize and the Bharat Ratna. This is the maximum number of awards anyone has ever got.
Mandela Fights the Government
He is often called by his clan name Madiba. A teacher gave him the name Nelson when he was a child. As a youth, Mandela began fighting against the South African government’s apartheid policy. This policy aimed to keep white and black people apart.
Nelson Mandela helped set up South Africa’s first black law firm. He admired Gandhi’s method of peaceful protest. In 1960, Mandela and his supporters protested against apartheid in Sharpeville. 69 blacks were shot dead by the police.
Mandela formed a secret army called Spear of the Nation. He disguised himself and went into hiding to avoid the police. Mandela got the name The Black Pimpernel during this time. He also travelled to other countries for help.
Mandela is Arrested
Two years later, Mandela was arrested on the charge of being a terrorist. He was put in a 2 m * 2.5 m jail cell. Mandela could only get a visitor and a letter once in six months. Although the government offered freedom to Mandela six times, he said that he valued the freedom of his black brothers more.
Other countries stopped trading with South Africa, in support of Mandela. In sports, teams refused to play against white South African teams.
Mandela is Free
In 1990, a new South African president came into power and set Mandela free. Blacks got the vote in 1994, and Mandela became the president.
Mandela died at the age of 95, on 5th December, 2013. He had a lung infection.
Read more interesting biographies of famous politicians for Kids here.