5 Amazing Things About Nelson Mandela

Last month, one of the greatest inspirational figures this world has ever seen died. Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, and long-time sufferer and activist to end South Africa’s apartheid, died on Thursday after a battle with lung infection. People across the world are mourning Mandela’s death and honoring his long life and incredible achievements. Below are five amazing things about the life of Nelson Mandela.

1. Nelson Mandela broke the rules in order to bring peace In 1943 Mandela became a member of the African National Congress. Five years later, when apartheid laws were instituted across Africa Mandela began an intense defiance campaign against the apartheid system. In 1956 Mandela and over a hundred other political activists were charged with treason. Four years later the African National Congress was banned, and Mandela formed an underground military group called The Spear of the Nation. After leading a guerilla movement, Mandela was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, but went on the run.

2. Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, but remained politically active After Mandela was recaptured after fleeing from his five-year imprisonment sentence, he was tried for treason and sabotage and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela began his sentence at age 46, and spent the next 27 years in prison. During his imprisonment Mandela was often forced into labor, which consisted of breaking rocks into gravel. While in prison he was only allowed one visitor a year and could only write or receive a single letter every six months. Despite Mandela’s harsh imprisonment conditions he remained significant in leading the movement against apartheid. He was able to organize protests from his prison cell, and help rally activists to make gains in ending apartheid.

3. Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize Mandela was released from prison in 1990. After the ban from the African National Congress was lifted, Mandela joined and became the president. In 1993 Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize.

4. Mandela was elected as South Africa’s first black president After huge political gains were made in the fight to end intense racial segregation, Mandela was elected as the first black President of South Africa. Mandela stressed peace and unity, encouraging Africans to forgive the white governments that had treated them so brutally.

5. Mandela extended peace to whites, including his prison guards On the 20th anniversary of his prison release Mandela partook in a huge celebration held in his name. Even Mandela’s former prison guard was included in the celebration. At the age of 91 Mandela took this day to celebrate and further emphasize his message of peace to both blacks and whites.

Chante Owens

Sources: Nelson Mandelas, BBC, The Daily Beast, ABC News