Nelson Mandela (Essay Sample)

Nelson Mandela


The world has encountered and seen various legends, heroes, and those who gave meaning to the world history. Their life, work, and success proved that indeed they deserve to be remembered. One of those who made positive impact is Nelson Mandela. His real name is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who was born in the year 1918 July 18th in Transkei South Africa. The name Rolihlahla means’ to pull the entire branch of a given tree’ according to the South African culture. Rolihlahla was the first in his family to go to school and his teacher decided to give him English name ‘Nelson’. His father was known as Mgadla Henry who was the chief of Mvezo town which was one of the villages found in the district of Umtata. His mother was called Fanny Nosekeni.  Mandela’s father died of tuberculosis when he was at the age of nine which forced him to be adopted by DalindYebo. His father had thirteen children and four wives Mandela being one of the children. Since then Mandela rose up and went to school and learnt up to university level. He opened the first African law firm since he studied law. Due to several ambitions he entered politics and after years he became the first South African president. Nelson Mandela has remained a peaceful person since his childhood life and education, in politics, when he was in jail, and when he became the first South African president.

Education Background

Mandela was the first in his entire family to receive a good formal education in mission school in his primary level. While in school his teacher dubbed him the name Nelson since it was a system that African children were given English name. He attended a boarding institute called Clerkbury which was situated in Harley town. It was in this Methodist school that he excelled in his academics and trained boxing. Mandela worked hard and managed to scoop a chance in Elite University of Fort Hare where after a year he got his close friend Oliver Tambo who later merged and became business persons. At that time elite was the only western-style learning institution for the blacks in South Africa. Challenges came after learning when his guardian arranged a marriage plan for him but he managed to escape to Johannesburg where he was a watchman. Later he worked in a law firm where while he was finishing his bachelor’s degree.

Political Life in African Nation Congress

Mandela has been seen as a great politician who fought for the black’s right and led several parties which gave him fame and power. He joined African national congress in 1944 where he worked closely with his friend Oliver Tambo to form a youth league called African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).Mandela’s political life grew much stronger when African-dominated national party got a victory in the election. The party introduced a formal system in the segregation and racial classification. His success prompted the ANC to adopt his plan in fighting against unjust laws by traveling across the country, organizing strikes and boycotts and more so promoting the manifesto called freedom charter. In 1956 Mandela plus one hundred and fifty five other activists were arrested for treason. The defendants were later acquitted as tension rose in ANC which led to its selection. Another party was formed known as PAN AFRICAN CONGRESS (PAC). Following year the police raided the black protestors who were protesting on road and killed sixty nine people. Tension increased as the ANC and PAC led most riots and strikes. This action led the apartheid government to ban both parties. Due to this disbandment, Mandela and his team went underground and managed to do their activities while hiding. Time went by and Mandela decided to give a try to strong resistance. He formed a movement call (spear of the nation) which led sabotage campaign against the British government. He allegedly travelled to Ethiopia for an African leader’s conference where he got enough information about his own issue. Later he travelled to London to visit his friend Oliver. All this actions of Mandela were driven by the desire to bring peace into the country and any other state. Mandela in deed is a hero and a peaceful man. However, shortly after his return to South Africa, Mandela was arrested and imprisoned for five years. Though he faced challenges but he never gave up, he finished his sentence and later formed workers strike all over the country. But his efforts did not last as the police raided his party movement and got evidence that led to his life imprisonment. During trial he said that ‘I have always cherished the ideal of freedom in society and democratic country where all the people will live in equal opportunity and in peace and harmony (Mandela 2013).

Life in Prison

“Since I was in jail, it is when I attributed the power of memory” (Mandela, 2010) Mandela spent the first 18 years in prison called Brutal Robben Island prison. He was under severe and harsh punishment but he endured to the end. While in prison he was confined in a small jail in which bed and food was not offered while doing hard and harsh labor in lime quarry. Since he was politician he was given some privileges of which other inmates could not be able to access. His wife and daughter were allowed to visit him after every six months throughout the years while in prison.  He ended the punishment when found in simple mistakes. But as a graduate he did not give up as he continued to educate the fellow inmates as he mentored them.  In the year 1980 his friend Oliver led a campaign on (free Nelson Mandela) but did not go successful as their initial deal with the British government failed. Pressure was initiated by the country and the government decided to give Mandela his freedom in return for several pronouncements but rejected it while in house arrest the newly elected clerk lifted the ban on African National Congress and ordered the release of Mandela

As the President

Mandela fought through thick and managed to become the first black to be the president of South Africa. This was due to his supporters casting ballots for his party. He has since been a peace mediator and promoted harmony between different people. Mandela is a hero. He Said ‘I have leant that courage does not only come with the absence of fear but when you triumph over the challenges’ (Mandela, 2012).


Nelson Mandela has played a vital role in leading South Africans to independence. Though, they faced many challenges including imprisonment and harsh punishment, here remains a symbol for peace in the entire world. His achievements in life including, persevering through the harsh rule of the British government, makes him a true legend for the people of South African.


  • Mandela N. (2010). Conversation With Myself, Retrieved from
  • Mandela N. (2013) long Walk to Freedom. Retrieved from
  • Mandela N. (2012). Long Walk to Freedom. Retrieved from
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