Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918, at Umtata, Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. He is an iconic figure in today’s world when it comes to fighting for one’s rights as a human being. The son of a Xhosa Chief, Mandela studied law at the University of Witwatersrand, and in 1944 joined the African National Congress (ANC), After the Sharpeville massacre (1960), he was disillusioned to the extent that he gave up his non-violent stance and became one of those who helped found the Spear of the Nation, the ANC’s military wing. Arrested in 1962, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The South African Court convicted him on charges of sabotage as well as other crimes committed while he led the movement against apartheid.

How is Nelson Mandela International Day celebrated?

Mandela provides service to others and always wants to create a better world for everyone. So, on this day if people find injustice in the neighbourhood, city, or state they do everything to alleviate the problem. Work in soup kitchens, marched with protesters, volunteer in local organisations, and work to help bring about civil liberties for everyone. Inspire change, and make every day a celebration of Mandela Day. People work for others and want to improve the lives of people around them. They will do this by volunteering or taking part in protests.

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

This day provides a global call for people to recognise their ability and have a positive effect on others around them. People also inspire others about the values that Mandela shared like democracy, freedom, diversity, reconciliation, and respect. To promote Nelson Mandela Day, many people and organisations around the world take part in several activities. These activities are volunteering, sport, art, education, music, and culture. This day also celebrates a campaign known as “46664”, in reference to Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison number. The campaign was originally launched to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. In 1995 and 1999 Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation were established.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

His Movements And Struggles:

In accordance with the conviction, Mandela served twenty-seven years in prison. While in jail, Mandela’s reputation grew and he became widely known as the most significant black leader in South Africa. The conditions that he had to go through as a prisoner were appalling. He performed hard labour in a lime quarry. Prisoners were segregated on the basis of race, and the black prisoners received the fewest rations. Political prisoners were kept separate from ordinary criminals and received fewer privileges. Mandela himself describes how as a D-group prisoner, the lowest classification, he was allowed one visitor and one letter every six months. Letters, when they came, were often delayed for long periods and made unreadable by the prison censors. It calls for nerves of steel for a man imprisoned for life to get a degree of Bachelor in Law from the University of London through correspondence.

In February 1985, President PW Botha offered Mandela conditional release in return for renouncing armed struggle. Mandela spurned the offer, releasing a statement through his daughter Zindzi saying, ‘What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.’

Throughout Mandela’s imprisonment, local and international pressure mounted on the South African Government to release him. In 1989, South Africa reached a crossroads when Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced as President by Frederik Willem de Klerk. De Klerk announced Mandela’s release in February 1990. His release from jail was broadcast live all over the world.

South Africa’s first multi-racial elections, in which full enfranchisement was granted, were held in April 1994. The ANC won 62 per cent of the votes in the election. Mandela became the first black President. As President from May 1994 to June 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation.

It is not surprising that Mahatma Gandhi should have inspired Mandela in his war against apartheid. The most universally respected figure of post-colonial Africa, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 along with De Klerk for their efforts to end apartheid and bring about the transition to non-racial democracy. Mandela remains an inspiring figure for any man in any corner of the world who becomes conscious of his rights and is willing to fight for the same.

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