Nelson Mandela: life and times of South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero
Nearing the end of his life Nelson Mandela said, When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw (Meah). Mandela realized that in order to make a difference in his society, he had to become a rebel. Mandela fought against apartheid in South Africa, by leading different campaigns against it. He was a Nelson Mandela was a rebel in his time, but he made a great impact on the world.
In Mandela’s youth, he embraced the fight against apartheid. During the early, 1950’s the ANC launched protests called The Defiance Campaign against the unjust laws of apartheid. Mandela co founded an organization called Umkhonto we Sizwe, in which they launched five bombs on power stations and government buildings in Johannesburg. I believe that Mandela’s stand was right. Ha and fifteen others were arrested for 221 acts of sabotage as well as being accused of trying to overthrow the government. Mandela stood in the dock during the trial and expressed, “What I did was right. I had no alternative. Freedom will come to South Africa one day, and even if you hang me it will only give inspiration to others. I plead not guilty” (Editorial). Mandela was determined to defend his actions because he was rebelling against the worthy cause of abolishing apartheid. I believe he is a great example of a freedom fighter. He was willing to do whatever he had to do to help bring freedom to his country (Mandela).
After the Rivonia Trial, In 1962 Mandela was accused of scheming to overthrow the state. He was given a life sentence, however he only served for 27 years. In the book a Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela describes his time during his imprisonment at Robben Island as the dark years. He was confined to a small cell without a bed or plumbing. He was forced to work at a quarry, which he says was, an attempt to crush our spirits despite the blistered and bleeding hands, we were invigorated, (Mandela, 404). He later explains how the time working outside made him feel strong, because he was able to use his muscles. Even through the obstacle of being in prison, Mandela’s spirit never broke. During his time at Robben Island, he continued to be the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement and also went on to improve living conditions at Robben Island through civil disobedience (Mandela).
In the end of Nelson Mandela’s book a Long Walk to Freedom, he reflects on his life. Nelson Mandela was a leader who spent his entire life attempting fight for freedom. During his time in prison his hunger for freedom grew. He longed for freedom for not only his people, but for everyone, white and black . He learned that, a man that takes another person’s freedom, is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice (Mandela, 624). He learned that freedom isn’t something that he had fully accomplished, but it was something for which he must continue to strive. He learned even though he had accomplished so much and had come so far that he would never be done (Mandela).
There are many great lessons we can learn from Nelson Mandela. We can learn the importance of being a peacemaker. We can look at his determination to end discrimination. We can see that he never gave up hope, even after he spent 27 years in prison. The most important lesson we can learn is how to be a good leader which includes all of these good qualities which Mandela manifested. A good leader can’t direct all by himself, but he can influence and encourage those underneath him. A good leader can’t face victory all alone, because there were always followers to help along the way. He knew how to celebrate not only his accomplishments, but also the accomplishments that he was able to perform because of all of the companions who helped him (Ellen).
Nelson Mandela risked everything when he started to fight against apartheid. He spent a little less than a third of his life in prison because of his actions which he took against the discrimination that his people faced. He recognized what he could accomplish, if he could set his mind to it; and that is what he did. His rebellion did send him to prison; however, it sent a message to the people of South Africa. He was a symbol for liberation, because he was a imprisoned man who became free. He was also a symbol for hope because even after 27 years of prison, he wasn’t discouraged, but instead; he was rejuvenated, ready to get back on the wagon (Wezithombe).
In recent years Mandela has come under fire for having failed to change the economic equalities in South Africa where a handful of whites and elites remain in absolute control. These grievances are not completely true. Mandela was a symbol of hope, courage, and reconciliation who led his nation to democracy. Although some people still live in poverty, that is true even in America. In democracies you will always have rich and poor, but the opportunities to improve one’s situation is the goal for which Mandela spent his life. Although Mandela had conquered many obstacles, he realized that there were still many mountains to climb for apartheid. He realized that with freedom comes responsibility. Even as Americans, although we are free, we have to continue the fight for freedom, or slowly watch it drift away. Those who criticize Mandela, are blinded by their nearsighted view of liberty, The fight for freedom will be one that has to be continually preserved by the sacrifice of those like Mandela.
Apartheid was the fight that Mandela chose to stand against. He was imprisoned for 27 years. During this time his spirit never broke. He continued his fight for the rights of the prisoners, and once released never gave up his fight . Mandalearned the the fight for apartheid would never be over. Those coming behind would have to continue the fight for freedom. We can learn how to be a good leaders how to be celebrate his accomplishments and thank those who help him. Although Mandela can be classified as a rebel, Mandela benefited the society of South Africa for the better by starting the fight for apartheid. His fight for freedom will be a path for future generations to follow.
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