Have you ever wondered how Nelson Mandela made a difference? You're not alone. Mandela is one of those people whose name sounds familiar but you're not sure why. He is most famous, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, for achieving equal rights for people in South Africa through the philosophy of passive resistance.
NelsonMandela was the first black president of South Africa. He began to make a difference early in his life. Despite coming from an upper class family, he organized strikes and other protests against colonial rule while he was still attending Fort Hare Missionary College. He was expelled for his efforts, but this didn't stop him from trying to make a difference.
ANC In 1942, when he was 24, Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC). He formed a military component of this organization known as the MK, and he traveled to Algeria to organize military training for members of this group.. Upon his return to South Africa, Mandela was arrested for going between countries without a passport. He was tried for sabotage and trying to overthrow the government. He spent the next 28 years in prison where he continued to make a difference.
While serving time at Robben Island Prison, Mandela continued to work for causes in which he believed. For example, he organized a hunger strike to try and improve living conditions for prisoners. At one point, he was offered freedom if he would stop the protests, but he refused. However, after years of secret talks with South Africa's President, P.W. Botha, he was finally freed in 1990 and he took the post of leader of the ANC. He worked diligently over the next few years to negotiate an end to apartheid. During national elections in 1994, he was elected President of South Africa. At his inaugural address on May 10, 1994, Mandela inspired his listeners by proclaiming, "Let there be justice for all, let there be peace for all, let there be work, bread, water and salt for all."
Because Nelson Mandela tried to make a difference, he has been awarded over 250 times including receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In November of 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela's birthday, 18 July, would be known as 'Mandela Day' to mark his contribution to world freedom. No wonder Nelson Mandela is known as Washington and Lincoln rolled into one. He said. "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live and to achieve. Bit if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." Gandhi would be proud.
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