I was born July 18, 1918 in a South African village. My birth name is Rolihlahla, but when I began my British education at the age of 7, my teacher gave me the name Nelson. Our had gained independence from Britain in 1934, but I still strived to push for African rights.

I decided to joined the African National Congress in order to fight for black rights.

The South African government was controlled by Afrikaners, but the ANC aimed to establish a democratic government in South Africa. In 1948, a social policy of apartheid was imposed. Under apartheid, the social classes were classified as upper white and lower black. The two different classes were treated unequally, with the black class suffering. In order to establish a democratic government in South Africa and end apartheid, I worked very hard to make it happen. I joined the African National Congress and helped form the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in order to force a more radical approach on their demands. At first, I would go about this in a non-bitter, peaceful way.

Under apartheid, whites and blacks are separated. The differences that each class held included that pass cards were for blacks only, whites only had the right to vote, there were segregated public places such as schools, beaches, bus stops, hospitals and water fountains, marriage between blacks and whites was forbidden, 80% of our land was for whites, there was sanctioning for white only jobs, and segregated Home Lands.

I strived to be a powerful anti-apartheid leader, and for this I was seen as a threat by the government. I was served with a banning order which merely restricted my freedom of speech, I could not attend meetings and I could only speak to one person at a time.

I formed a military wing of the ANC, which was known as the Spear of the Nation. I formed this in 1961 when I lost hope of going about a non-violent way would achieve the end of apartheid. This military was launched on December 16, in which the aim was to not kill anybody, but sabotage in order to defend the people and freedom of our country.

June 12, 1964, I was convicted with conspiracy to overthrow the government. I was speaking out against apartheid, and fighting for what I believed was right. I was sentenced to life in prison. Even from prison, I was seen as a threat. My writings were banned from being published, and the government refused to allow the media to show my image.

In 1976, black student protestors were shot by security forces in Soweto; 600 students were killed. The whole world took notice after this and demanded change. I became the symbol for that change.

While in prison, I was having secret talks with South Africa's president, P.W. Botha. P.W. Botha agreed to free me from prison if I renounced the use of violence. I disagreed to this because I knew that the only way apartheid could be abolished was by this use, and I would not let my people down. Four years later, in 1990, I was communicating with the government while I was in prison on the topic of forming a multi-racial democracy.

February 11, 1990, I was released from 27 years in jail by South African president, F.W. DeKlerk. After just three months from my release, I led the ANC in a meeting with the government. Just after three days of the meeting, peaceful change was agreed upon.

In 1993, F.W. DeKlerk and I won the Nobel Peace Prize thanks to my life time of hard work and effort to end apartheid and DeKlerk for releasing me and ending the racist institution. In 1994, I was elected as president and it also was the first election where blacks were allowed to vote. I won the election and in 1996, established a new South African constitution.

I hope to be forever remembered by not only the people of South Africa, but by the whole world. I want to hold an amazing legacy and be an inspiration to all, because effort can achieve your goals even if there are blocks in the way. My sacrifices that I held for my beliefs and my push to not let my people down are what helped shape our country today.



Created with images by - "Nelson Mandela" • pasa47 - "Nelson Mandela"

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