Nelson Mandela

Updated on

Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi had a lot of similarities between them. Both the legends lived their whole lives believing in the virtues of non-violence and truth.


In the olden days, facilities were divided among the population on the basis of their skin color. Ranging from the seat reservations in public transport to other public facilities, whites used to get better facilities. The dark-skinned people (blacks) were treated badly in the society. White supremacy was prominent in countries under British colonialism. During Mandela’s time, racial discrimination was at its peak in South Africa.

Three-fourths of the total population in South Africa were black people. The whole nation’s economy used to run on the strength of their hard work, but the ‘whites’ availed all the good facilities. Racial discrimination was in practice in South Africa for a long time. In 1948, the National Party government made a rule that blacks and whites should be living in different places, it was decided that public facilities will be divided on the basis of skin color. But we all know the good ultimately triumphs over the evil!As a result of Mandela’s struggles, racial discrimination came to an end in South Africa. He had to spend 28 years of his life in prison for the cause! Mandela had followed the footsteps of Gandhi. He never took arms and avoided bloodshed.      


Africa suffered from racial discrimination, exploitation and horrors of British colonialism. The fair people were regarded as the high class people and the blacks were looked down upon. In short, Nelson Mandela was born during a time when people were judged on the basis of their skin color!

History of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela aka Rohihala was born on 18th July 1918 in the village of Mvezo. His mother was Nosakeni and father was Gadla Henry. He attended the Clark Barry Missionary school. 

Mandela lost his father at the age of 12. His family always protected him. Infact, Mandela was the only person from his family to attend school.

The great man graduated from the Methodist Healdtown college, a college exclusively for black people. At his college, Mandela started fighting against injustice and inequality of racial discrimination. He befriended Oliver Tambo – a friendship that lasted for a lifetime.   

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to fighting against Apartheid. ‘It’ was all about racial segregation and economic discrimination against the blacks. He joined the African National Congress in 1944. Mandela was elected as the secretary of the party in 1947. He was arrested for inciting workers to go on strike on 5th August 1962.  After trials which lasted almost for almost 2 years, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment on 12th July 1964. But his courage never diminished. Despite living in one of the most strictly guarded jails, he continued to inspire black prisoners with his thoughts. He was imprisoned for a stretch of 28 years! Liberal leader F. W. Clarke became the president of South Africa in 1989. He was successful in removing all the restrictions imposed on black people. Finally, Nelson Mandela walked out of the Victor Verster prison as a free man on 11 February, 1990. 


Black people were able to participate in the presidential election of South Africa which was held in 1994. Nelson Mandela was declared the president of South Africa on 10 May 1994. He granted equal rights for the whites and blacks in the country. It is said that Mandela always considered Gandhi as his inspiration.

He was conferred with Bharat Ratna (most prestigious award of India) in 1990. Mandela was only the second foreigner to win this award after Mother Teresa. For his struggle against Apartheid, he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The legend died at the age of 95, on December 5, 2013. 

Check Your Knowledge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *