The “Father” of South Africa is born (July 18, 1918) - History Key

The “Father” of South Africa is born (July 18, 1918)

Nelson Mandela was a fierce anti-apartheid fighter, the most famous political prisoner in the world and the first black president of South Africa. On this day we will present you a few interesting facts about him, thanks to his birthday.

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela © Image Source: forbes.com

He was the first member of his family to attend school

His father was a local chief and councillor to the monarch, but died when Mandela was 9. However, he was sent to a local Methodist school by his mother at 7 years old.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – N. Mandela

Nelson Mandela in Umtata at the age of 19
Nelson Mandela in Umtata at the age of 19 © Image Source: Wikipedia

He had 6 children with 2 different wives

With Winnie Mandela: Zindzi (1960) and Zenani (1959)

With Evelyin Mandela: Makazie (1953), Makgato (1950-2005), Makaziwe (1947-1948), Thembekile (1946-1969)

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – N. Mandela

Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela with her daughter, Zindzi
Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela with her daughter, Zindzi © Image Source: dailymail.co.uk

He was imprisoned for 27 years

While being the leader of the blacks who fought against the racist regime, Mandela was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years between 1964 and 1990. Four years later after his release, he becomes the first black president of South Africa.

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people” – N. Mandela

Nelson Mandela visiting his former prison cell at Robben Island
Nelson Mandela visiting his former prison cell at Robben Island © Image Source: aljazeera.com
P.W. Botha
P.W. Botha © Image Source: news24.com

He had the chance to get out of prison

In 1985 the former South African President P.W. Botha offered Mandela’s freedom with a condition: to renounce the armed struggle during racial segregation that lasted until 1991. He refused the chance because he remained straight to his cause: the elimination of racism in South Africa.

“When people are determined, they can overcome anything” – N. Mandela

He fought his entire life to bring down the Apartheid

Officially he was sentenced to prison for “high treason”, but technically he was incarcerated because of his free beliefs. He is one of the most important contributors who brought down the Apartheid. After his release in 1991 he strengthened his fight against the Apartheid. He urged his supporters to increase the pressure on South Africa’s white minority government.

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” – N. Mandela

He won more awards than anyone in history

Mandela received more than 250 awards during his life and the most honorable probably is the Nobel Prize for Peace (1993). Also he is the first living person made an honorary Canadian citizen, but also the last person to receive the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union.

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”  – N. Mandela

South African President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela hold up the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo's city hall in this December 10, 1993
South African President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela hold up the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo’s city hall in this December 10, 1993 © Image Source: enca.com

His birthday is a global holiday

United Nations declared that Nelson Mandela’s birthday as the Nelson Mandela International Day in order to maintain his honour and promote community service and peace.

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – N. Mandela

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela, wherever you are!

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