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People Who Change the World Essay

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in Transkei, South Africa and became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies.

In 1939, Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, the only residential center of higher learning for blacks in South Africa at the time. Fort Hare was considered Africa’s equivalent of Oxford or Harvard, drawing scholars from all parts of sub-Sahara Africa. In his first year at the university, Mandela took the required courses, but focused on Roman Dutch law to prepare for a career in civil service as an interpreter or clerk—regarded as the best profession a black man could obtain at the time.

In his second year at Fort Hare, Mandela was elected to the Student Representative Council. For some time, students had been dissatisfied with the food and lack of power held by the SRC. During this election, a majority of students voted to boycott unless their demands were met. Joining with the majority of students , Mandela resigned from his position.

Seeing this as an act of insubordination, the university’s Dr. Kerr expelled Mandela for the rest of the year, but gave him an ultimatum: He could return if he agreed to serve on the SRC. When Mandela returned home, the regent was furious, telling Mandela unequivocally that he would have to recant his decision and go back to school in the fall.

A few weeks after Nelson Mandela’s return home, Regent Jongintaba announced that he had arranged a marriage for his adopted son. The regent wanted to make sure that Mandela’s life was properly planned, and the arrangement was within his right, as tribal custom dictated.

Shocked by the news andf feeling trapped and believing he had no other option, Mandela ran away from home. He settled in Johannesburg, where he worked a different of jobs, including as a guard and a clerk, while completing his bachelor’s degree via correspondence courses. He then enrolled at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to study law.

Mandela soon became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress in 1942. Within the ANC, a small group of young Africans banded together, calling themselves the African National Congress Youth League. Their goal was to transform the ANC into a mass grassroots movement, deriving strength from millions of rural poor and working people who had no voice under the current regime. Specifically, the group believed that the ANC’s old tactics of polite petitioning were ineffective. In 1949, the ANC officially adopted the Youth League’s methods of boycott, strike, civil disobedience and non-cooperation, with policy goals of full citizenship, redistribution of land, trade union rights, and free and compulsory (Required by law or a rule; obligatory.) education for all children.

For 20 years, Mandela directed peaceful, nonviolent acts of defiance against the South African government and its racist policies, including the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People. He founded the law firm Mandela and Tambo, partnering with Oliver Tambo, a brilliant student he’d met while attending Fort Hare. The law firm provided free and low-cost legal counsel to unrepresented blacks.

In 1956, Mandela and 150 others were arrested and charged with treason for their political advocacy (they were eventually acquitted). Meanwhile, the ANC was being challenged by Africanists, a new breed of black activists who believed that the pacifist method of the ANC was ineffective. Africanists soon broke away to form the Pan-Africanist Congress, which negatively affected the ANC; by 1959, the movement had lost much of its militant support.

Nelson mandela fought for what he believeed in and changed the lives of many south african people at the cost of his life (reffering to the many years in jail.) Mandela change things that probaly still been in affect on if he hadn’t.


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