Nelson Mandela Becomes The Good Terrorist Communist — Rest In Peace — Videos
Nelson Mandela Dies
Nelson Mandela Death: A Look at South Africa’s First Black President – Documentary
Nelson Mandela – Who was Madiba? Truthloader
Remembering South African leader Nelson Mandela
25 Things You Didn’t Know About Nelson Mandela And His Enduring Legacy
Randall Robinson on Nelson Mandela, U.S. Backing of Apartheid
A Tribute To Nelson Mandela (R.I.P) 1918-2013
The Right Wing Vs Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela & Fidel Castro: A Video You Won’t See on the Evening News
Desmond Tutu Blasts ANC South African Gov’t as Worse Than Apartheid
Mandela The Man and His Country
African National Congress Terrorists Captured (1988)
The Truth on the ANC and South Africa
Christopher Hitchens on the ANC, South African Apartheid, History, Desmond Tutu (1985)
100 Years of Struggle — Mandela’s ANC
Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK)
ANC – VIP’s of Violence Part 1 of 3
Part 1 of 3. A fully factual, well researched and presented documentary on the actions of the ANC that it was hoped would never surface in public – ANC – African National Congress, ruling party in South Africa. What was said in 1987 still applies today, most Black people have not seen a dramatic change in their circumstances……
Nelson Mandela never did renounce the use of violence.
ANC VIP’s of Violence Part 2 of 3
ANC – VIP’s of Violence Part 3 of 3
The Death Of Apartheid – The Whites Last Stand
Who is Nelson Mandela ?
Nelson Mandela Exposed: Communist ANC Ties & The Stupidity Of Black People
WATCH Bill O’Reilly Open Fire on Nelson Mandela: ” Great Man, But He Was a Communist “
Alex Jones: Nelson Mandela is “a horrible person”, “communist mass-bomber”
Racist songs of the ANC and Nelson Mandela- Part 1 of 2
Racist songs by the ANC and Nelson Mandela- Part 2 of 2
Nelson Mandela sings about killing whites
My tribute to vintage Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
NBC and ABC Bash Reagan as Pro-Apartheid During Mandela Coverage
South Africa Today: Did the Mandela Revolution Succeed?
November 30, 2010 | The relatively peaceful transition from apartheid to the beginning of democracy in 1994 was greeted around the world as the beginning of a new era in African politics. Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, former national research director of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, offered an assessment of the positive momentum and the challenges facing his native South Africa sixteen years later. Assessing the tendency among some rulers of new democracies to resort to the authoritarian tendencies of the governments they have replaced, the question was asked as to what extent South Africa’s current rulers have consolidated and advanced the gains introduced by the Mandela administration. Special attention was given to the current political divisions within the ANC government and the economic challenges facing the country.
Charles Villa-Vicencio is a leading global authority in matters related to transitional justice and reconciliation. A distinguished theologian, he has published numerous works in various scholarly forums. His contributions extend beyond academics: from 1996-1998, he played a central role in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he acted as national research director. Villa-Vicencio has used his insight and expertise to advise numerous countries dealing with the challenges of rebuilding their societies after periods of internal strife, including Peru and various African nations. Villa-Vicencio is the author of several books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights (1992) and Civil Disobedience and Beyond: Law, Resistance, and Religion in South Africa (1990). In addition, he has edited or co-edited various volumes, such as Looking Back, Reaching Forward: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (2000, with Wilhelm Verwoerd), and The Provocations of Amnesty: Memory, Justice, and Impunity (2003, with Erik Doxtader).
Former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema has officially formed a new political party.
Malema makes 360 since corruption charges
NELSON MANDELA the TRUTH IS REVEALED
Background Articles and Videos
Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
Mandela began as a terrorist and never turned his back on monsters like Arafat and Castro, whom he considered brothers in arms. When he was released from prison by deKlerk, he showed unexpected statesmanship, counseling reconciliation rather than revenge, no small achievement in a country in which the “liberation” movement (led by Mandela’s wife and party) placed oil filled inner tubes around the necks of former comrades and set them on fire.
But if a leader should be judged by his works, the country Mandela left behind is an indictment of his political career, not an achievement worthy of praise – let alone the unhinged adoration he is currently receiving across the political spectrum.
Mandela’s Economic Legacy Threatened by S. Africa Inequality
By Mike Cohen
Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails in 1990 pledging to seize South Africa’s mines and banks. Four years later, his government slashed spending and courted foreign investors, paving the way for the longest period of growth in the country’s history.
The former president and Nobel Laureate, who died yesterday at the age of 95, was instrumental in getting the African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid and has ruled ever since, to embrace an open economy.
“Only a Mandela could have realigned the ANC’s economic policy from the mindset of the 1950s, with the development state, with socialism, with nationalization, to the world of the 1990s and beyond,” Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town, said in an interview. “He recognized that for the poor to prosper, the rich had to feel they had a future in the country.”
Yet Mandela’s legacy of economic stability is beginning to come under attack as the country fails to slash unemployment and reduce inequality. The jobless rate remains 24.7 percent, while average earnings for black households are a sixth of their white counterparts. The ANC’s youth wing last year waged a campaign for the nationalization of banks and mines, the very policies ditched by Mandela in 1994, and poor communities have staged a series of protests against a lack of housing and basic services.
The rand has plunged 19 percent against the dollar this year, the worst performer of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, and was trading at 10.4751 as of 1:32 p.m. in Johannesburg today.
“We still have racial unemployment, racial poverty and racial inequality,” said Sidumo Dlamini, president of the 2.2-million-member Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s largest labor grouping and a member of the ruling alliance. “Our country is still in white hands.”
Mandela’s embrace of spending rigor and foreign capital allowed the economy to expand for 15 years, until the third quarter of 2008, when the global financial crisis pushed it into recession. That growth and rising tax receipts enabled the post-apartheid government to extend welfare grants to about 16 million people and give more than 85 percent of households access to electricity, up from 45 percent in 1996.
Instead of nationalizing companies, Mandela coaxed foreign investors into the country. His ideological shift laid the groundwork for Lakshmi Mittal’s LNM Group to buy Africa’s biggest steelmaker in 2004 and London-based Barclays Plc to take control of South Africa’s largest consumer bank in 2005. In 2011, Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought a majority stake in the nation’s biggest general-goods wholesaler.
Restoring confidence in South Africa’s economy in 1994 was a significant achievement. Apartheid had turned South Africa into a pariah state, subjected to international sanctions and boycotts. The economy was hemorrhaging foreign capital, had only enough reserves to cover 10 days of imports and was running a budget deficit of 9.1 percent of gross domestic product.
Mandela asked Chris Liebenberg, who had just retired as chief executive officer of what is now Nedbank Group Ltd., the country’s fourth-largest bank, to become finance minister. He accepted the job on condition that South Africa would have a market-related economy and exercise fiscal discipline.
“Those were tough times,” Liebenberg said in an interview. “We were heading for bankruptcy. Mandela was very mindful that the ANC having not been in government would not be as astute in managing the economy as it should be. He came to me because I was a banker with lots of international contacts and experience.”
In his first budget, Liebenberg raised taxes, equalized the tax system for all racial groups and slashed the defense budget. Those measures helped the government to raise $750 million in 1994 in its first post-apartheid international bond sale, 50 percent more than originally planned. By 1999, the Finance Ministry had reduced the budget deficit to 2.3 percent of GDP.
Mandela also persuaded Chris Stals, the central bank governor, to postpone his retirement by five years to help manage the country’s transition.
Life in Prison
“We made steady progress from day one on for those first five years,” Stals said in an interview. “Our main task was to bring us back into the world economy. Mr. Mandela certainly made a major contribution to that. The trust people had in him and his policies certainly enabled us to lay a very good foundation.”
That trust was hard won.
Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of treason in June 1964, serving much of his sentence on Robben Island near Cape Town. His economic thinking was framed in terms of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter, which called for the country’s mineral wealth and banks to be transferred to the ownership of the people.
“The question of nationalization of mines is a fundamental policy of the ANC,” Mandela said shortly after his release. “I believe the ANC is quite correct in this attitude and we should support it.”
A year later, he assured foreign companies their investments were safe following talks with then-Chinese Premier Li Peng, who told him nationalization wasn’t viable and that China was considering selling state companies.
“The world had changed while Mandela was in jail,” said Iraj Abedian, an economist who helped craft the Mandela’s administration’s 1996 hallmark economic policy, which won praise from international investors. “His engagement with the role players in the political, economic and financial world brought that reality home.”
Mandela helped set the broad parameters of economic policy, while leaving formulation and execution to his subordinates, according to Liebenberg, who now helps manage charities established by the former president.
“Until Mandela set his stamp on a policy I think it would not have been possible to drive it through the ANC,” Liebenberg said. “It certainly would not have been possible to drive it through government.”
Abedian, now CEO of Pan-African Capital Holdings, a Johannesburg-based advisory service, was struck by the attention to detail that Mandela, a trained lawyer, gave to policy making.
“He would go through every document word by word, line by line,” Abedian said. “It was a question of understanding the rationale for every step, weighing it up, questioning it in detail, far more than people would believe.”
Stals recounts how after Trevor Manuel was appointed finance minister in 1996 and the rand tumbled 8.8 percent in the space of a month, Mandela would phone him two or three times a day for market updates.
“He showed a great interest in what we did and he was always quite well-informed,” said Stals. “He liked to discuss the monetary policy issues. He never really interfered, he never really gave instructions.”
Still, the stability that Mandela engineered in those early years after apartheid never made South Africa an economic dynamo. Economic growth has averaged 3.5 percent since 2004, compared with 10.5 percent in China and 7.7 percent in India.
Moreover, the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, has risen to 0.63 in 2009 from 0.59 in 1993, making South Africa one of the world’s most unequal societies. Poverty remains most prevalent among black South Africans, who make up 79 percent of the population of 53 million.
Mandela never tackled labor laws that companies say stifle investment, or turned around an education system that has left South Africa with labor shortages for skilled jobs.
A wave of violent labor unrest that swept the country in 2012 has continued this year, with workers in the mining, agriculture and transportation industries going on strike for higher wages. The unrest peaked on Aug. 16, when police killed 34 protesters at a Lonmin Plc platinum mine.
Labor unions and the South African Communist Party blame the 1996 economic framework, known as Growth, Employment and Redistribution, for entrenching apartheid-era inequity. The policy, which was spearheaded by Manuel and described by Mandela as “non-negotiable,” sought to trim state borrowing, contain inflation and gradually relax exchange controls.
“Established capital benefited from stabilization and liberalization measures,” while the interests of the poor and working class were largely overlooked, said Blade Nzimande, the SACP’s general secretary.
The ANC’s Youth League revived calls for nationalization, saying drastic steps were needed to distribute the country’s wealth more equitably. The league has toned down its demands since its leader Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC last year.
Mandela did the best he could for the country under the circumstances, Abedian said.
“Very few people appreciated what unstable macroeconomic conditions apartheid had left behind,” he said. “In that type of environment what was critical was to have a credible, not necessarily an instant, solution. Mandela realized what steps had to be taken to normalize and stabilize the economy.”
South Africa’s economy
Strangers will not always be so kind
A COSTLY strike by carworkers in South Africa was at last called off on October 6th. The production lost to the dispute cannot easily be made up as car plants often work around the clock. Worse, the country’s reputation as a place for foreign investment has suffered. BMW, a big German carmaker, says the damage caused by the strike will influence the company’sfuture investment plans.
That sobering statement came just days after the IMF’s anual health-check on the economy. It is a portrait of a country that increasingly relies on foreign creditors to plug the holes in its finances yet does little to ensure that this much-needed investment will keep flowing.
The IMF’s judgment could scarcely be more damning. The report says that South Africa’s economy has grown far more slowly than its peers. The misery in Europe, where a big chunk of South Africa’s exports usually go, has not helped. But it does not excuse troubles at home: “Although weak trading-partner growth contributed, domestic factors were an important reason why South Africa’s growth has been below that of other emerging markets,” the report notes.
It might beggar belief that carworkers can strike for big wage increases when South Africa’s economy is growing so slowly and its unemployment rate is a depressing 25%. Yet the crux of the country’s economic difficulties is an “insider-outsider” complex, says the IMF, which affects both jobs and goods markets. It is costly to fire workers even with good reason. The protections afforded to insiders with jobs leave employers less willing to hire in case they turn out to be work-shy or incompetent. Meanwhile outsiders, mostly the young, are locked out of work.
Business in South Africa is part of the racket. It feigns to loathe costly regulations but in fact red tape makes it harder for job-creating start-ups to challenge established businesses. The IMF notes that the rate of creation and survival of new companies is one of the lowest in the world. This is a sweet deal for incumbent firms, which are more profitable in South Africa than their peers in many emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India and Russia. The lack of competition imposes an additional cost (over forgone jobs) on poor households in the form of high prices.
The social problems related to joblessness are reason enough to shake things up. But reform is even more urgent because of South Africa’s reliance on the kindness of strangers. It runs a current-account deficit of more than 6% of GDP: this is how much it adds to its overdraft with foreigners each year. It would better if this was funded by foreign direct investment, the sort of long-term capital that a BMW plant represents. But the gap between what South Africa spends and what it earns has been bridged by foreign buying of government bonds. The proceeds have gone on public-sector wages rather than on infrastructure projects, such as roads, ports and power plants.
Such purchases cannot be relied on for ever. Interest rates will eventually return to more normal levels in America and Europe. When that happens, capital will flow less freely to emerging markets, such as South Africa. And foreign investors might take fright sooner than that. In the rush for the exits, long-term interest rates would rise and the currency would wilt, leaving the economy in even deeper trouble.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
OM AC CC OJ GCStJ QC GCH BR RSO NPk
|Mandela in Johannesburg, on 13 May 2008|
|President of South Africa|
10 May 1994 – 14 June 1999
F. W. de Klerk
|Preceded by||F. W. de Klerk|
|Succeeded by||Thabo Mbeki|
18 July 1918
Mvezo, Cape Province
Union of South Africa
|Died||5 December 2013 (aged 95)
|Political party||African National CongressSouth African Communist Party|
|Spouse(s)||Evelyn Ntoko Mase
(m. 1944–1957; divorced)
(m. 1958–1996; divorced)
(m. 1998–2013; his death)
|Alma mater||University of Fort Hare
University of London External System
University of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]) (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the South African National Party came to power in 1948, he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, was appointed superintendent of the organisation’s Transvaal chapter and presided over the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.
Mandela served over 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release. He was released in 1990, during a time of escalating civil strife. Mandela joined negotiations with President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory and became South Africa’s first black president. He published his autobiography in 1995. During his tenure in the Government of National Unity he invited several other political parties to join the cabinet. As agreed to during the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa, he promulgated a new constitution. He also created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. While continuing the former government’s liberal economic policy, his administration also introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Denounced as a Marxist terrorist by critics, he nevertheless gained international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the USPresidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata (“Father”); he is often described as “the father of the nation”.
Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. Given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning “troublemaker”, in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba. His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was ruler of the Thembu people in theTranskeian Territories of South Africa’s modern Eastern Cape province. One of this king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his surname.Because Mandela was only the king’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan, a so-called “Left-Hand House”, the descendants of his cadet branch of the royal family were morganatic, ineligible to inherit the throne but recognized as hereditary royal councillors. His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch; he had been appointed to the position in 1915, after his predecessor was accused of corruption by a governing white magistrate. In 1926, Gadla, too, was sacked for corruption, but Nelson was told that he had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate’s unreasonable demands. A devotee of the god Qamata, Gadla was a polygamist, having four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different villages. Nelson’s mother was Gadla’s third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, who was daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a member of the amaMpemvu clan of Xhosa.
“No one in my family had ever attended school […] On the first day of school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why this particular name I have no idea.”
Later stating that his early life was dominated by “custom, ritual and taboo”, Mandela grew up with two sisters in his mother’skraal in the village of Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with other boys. Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was about seven. Baptised a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of “Nelson” by his teacher. When Mandela was about nine, his father came to stay at Qunu, where he died of an undiagnosed ailment which Mandela believed to be lung disease. Feeling “cut adrift”, he later said that he inherited his father’s “proud rebelliousness” and “stubborn sense of fairness”.
His mother took Mandela to the “Great Place” palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted under the guardianship of Themburegent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their son Justice and daughter Nomafu. As Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians, Christianity became a significant part of his life. He attended aMethodist mission school located next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history and geography. He developed a love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace, and became influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Chief Joyi. At the time he nevertheless considered the European colonialists as benefactors, not oppressors. Aged 16, he, Justice and several other boys travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo the circumcision ritual that symbolically marked their transition from boys to men; the rite over, he was given the name Dalibunga.
Clarkebury, Healdtown, and Fort Hare: 1936–1940
Intending to gain skills needed to become a privy councillor for the Thembu royal house, Mandela began his secondary education at Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo, a Western-style institution that was the largest school for black Africans in Thembuland. Made to socialise with other students on an equal basis, he claimed that he lost his “stuck up” attitude, becoming best friends with a girl for the first time; he began playing sports and developed his lifelong love of gardening. Completing his Junior Certificate in two years, in 1937 he moved to Healdtown, the Methodist college in Fort Beaufort attended by most Thembu royalty, including Justice. The headmaster emphasised the superiority of English culture and government, but Mandela became increasingly interested in native African culture, making his first non-Xhosa friend, a Sotho language-speaker, and coming under the influence of one of his favourite teachers, a Xhosa who broke taboo by marrying a Sotho. Spending much of his spare time long-distance running and boxing, in his second year Mandela became a prefect.
With Jongintaba’s backing, Mandela began work on a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare, an elite black institution inAlice, Eastern Cape, with around 150 students. There he studied English, anthropology, politics, native administration, and Roman Dutch law in his first year, desiring to become an interpreter or clerk in the Native Affairs Department. Mandela stayed in the Wesley House dormitory, befriending his own kinsman, K.D. Matanzima, as well as Oliver Tambo, who became a close friend and comrade for decades to come.Continuing his interest in sport, Mandela took up ballroom dancing, performed in a drama society play about Abraham Lincoln, and gave Bible classes in the local community as part of the Students Christian Association. Although having friends connected to the African National Congress (ANC) and the anti-imperialist movement who wanted an independent South Africa, Mandela avoided any involvement, and became a vocal supporter of the British war effort when the Second World War broke out. Helping found a first-year students’ house committee which challenged the dominance of the second-years, at the end of his first year he became involved in a Students’ Representative Council (SRC) boycott against the quality of food, for which he was temporarily suspended from the university; he left without receiving a degree.
Arriving in Johannesburg: 1941–1943
Returning to Mqhekezweni in December 1940, Mandela found that Jongintaba had arranged marriages for him and Justice; dismayed, they fled to Johannesburg via Queenstown, arriving in April 1941. Mandela found work as a night watchman at Crown Mines, his “first sight of South African capitalism in action”, but was fired when the induna (headman) discovered he was a runaway. Staying with a cousin in George Goch Township, Mandela was introduced to the realtor and ANC activist Walter Sisulu, who secured him a job as an articled clerk at law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman. The company was run by a liberal Jew, Lazar Sidelsky, who was sympathetic to the ANC’s cause. At the firm, Mandela befriended Gaur Redebe, a Xhosa member of the ANC and Communist Party, as well as Nat Bregman, a Jewish communist who became his first white friend.Attending communist talks and parties, Mandela was impressed that Europeans, Africans, Indians and Coloureds were mixing as equals. He stated later that he did not join the Party because its atheism conflicted with his Christian faith, and because he saw the South African struggle as being racially based rather than class warfare. Becoming increasingly politicised, in August 1943 Mandela marched in support of a successful bus boycott to reverse fare rises. Continuing his higher education, Mandela signed up to aUniversity of South Africa correspondence course, working on his bachelor’s degree at night.
Earning a small wage, Mandela rented a room in the house of the Xhoma family in the Alexandra township; although rife with poverty, crime and pollution, Alexandra always remained “a treasured place” for him. Although embarrassed by his poverty, he briefly courted a Swazi woman before unsuccessfully courting his landlord’s daughter. In order to save money and be closer to downtown Johannesburg, Mandela moved into the compound of the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association, living among miners of various tribes; as the compound was a “way station for visiting chiefs”, he once met the Queen Regent of Basutoland. In late 1941, Jongintaba visited, forgiving Mandela for running away. On returning to Thembuland, the regent died in winter 1942; Mandela and Justice arrived a day late for the funeral. After passing his BA exams in early 1943, Mandela returned to Johannesburg to follow a political path as a lawyer rather than become a privy councillor in Thembuland. He later stated that he experienced no epiphany, but that he “simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”
Law studies and the ANC Youth League: 1943–1949
Beginning law studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Mandela was the only native African student, and though facing racism, he befriended liberal and communist European, Jewish, and Indian students, among them Joe Slovo, Harry Schwarz and Ruth First. Joining the ANC, Mandela was increasingly influenced by Sisulu, spending much time with other activists at Sisulu’s Orlando house, including old friend Oliver Tambo. In 1943, Mandela met Anton Lembede, an African nationalist virulently opposed to a racially united front against colonialism and imperialism or to an alliance with the communists. Despite his friendships with non-blacks and communists, Mandela supported Lembede’s views, believing that black Africans should be entirely independent in their struggle for political self-determination. Deciding on the need for a youth wing to mass mobilise Africans in opposition to their subjugation, Mandela was among a delegation that approached ANC President Alfred Bitini Xuma on the subject at his home in Sophiatown; the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was founded on Easter Sunday 1944 in the Bantu Men’s Social Centre in Eloff Street, with Lembede as President and Mandela as a member of the executive committee.
At Sisulu’s house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, an ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei, who was training at the time to become a nurse. Married on 5 October 1944, after initially living with her relatives, they rented House no. 8115 in Orlando from early 1946. Their first child, Madiba “Thembi” Thembekile, was born in February 1945, and a daughter named Makaziwe was born in 1947, dying nine months later of meningitis. Mandela enjoyed home life, welcoming his mother and sister Leabie to stay with him. In early 1947, his three years of articles ended at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman, and he decided to become a full-time student, subsisting on loans from the Bantu Welfare Trust.
In July 1947, Mandela rushed Lembede to hospital, where he died; he was succeeded as ANCYL president by the more moderate Peter Mda, who agreed to co-operate with communists and non-blacks, appointing Mandela ANCYL secretary. Mandela disagreed with Mda’s approach, in December 1947 supporting an unsuccessful measure to expel communists from the ANCYL, considering their ideology un-African. In 1947, Mandela was elected to the executive committee of the Transvaal ANC, serving under regional president C.S. Ramohanoe. When Ramohanoe acted against the wishes of the Transvaal Executive Committee by co-operating with Indians and communists, Mandela was one of those who forced his resignation.
In the South African general election, 1948, in which only whites were permitted to vote, the Afrikaner-dominated Herenigde Nasionale Party under Daniel François Malan took power, soon uniting with the Afrikaner Party to form the National Party. Openly racialist, the party codified and expanded racial segregation with the new apartheid legislation. Gaining increasing influence in the ANC, Mandela and his cadres began advocating direct action against apartheid, such as boycotts and strikes, influenced by the tactics of South Africa’s Indian community. Xuma did not support these measures and was removed from the presidency in a vote of no confidence, replaced by James Moroka and a more militant cabinet containing Sisulu, Mda, Tambo and Godfrey Pitje; Mandela later related that “We had now guided the ANC to a more radical and revolutionary path.” Having devoted his time to politics, Mandela failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times; he was ultimately denied his degree in December 1949.
Defiance Campaign and Transvaal ANC Presidency: 1950–1954
Mandela took Xuma’s place on the ANC National Executive in March 1950. That month, the Defend Free Speech Convention was held in Johannesburg, bringing together African, Indian and communist activists to call an anti-apartheid general strike. Mandela opposed the strike because it was not ANC-led, but a majority of black workers took part, resulting in increased police repression and the introduction of the Suppression of Communism Act, 1950, affecting the actions of all protest groups. In 1950, Mandela was elected national president of the ANCYL; at the ANC national conference of December 1951, he continued arguing against a racially united front, but was outvoted. Thenceforth, he altered his entire perspective, embracing such an approach; influenced by friends like Moses Kotane and by the Soviet Union‘s support for wars of independence, Mandela’s mistrust of communism also broke down. He became influenced by the texts of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, and embraceddialectical materialism. In April 1952, Mandela began work at the H.M. Basner law firm, though his increasing commitment to work and activism meant he spent less time with his family.
In 1952, the ANC began preparation for a joint Defiance Campaign against apartheid with Indian and communist groups, founding a National Voluntary Board to recruit volunteers. Deciding on a path of nonviolent resistance influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, some considered it the ethical option, but Mandela instead considered it pragmatic. At a Durban rally on 22 June, Mandela addressed an assembled crowd of 10,000, initiating the campaign protests, for which he was arrested and briefly interned in Marshall Square prison. With further protests, the ANC’s membership grew from 20,000 to 100,000; the government responded with mass arrests, introducing the Public Safety Act, 1953 to permit martial law. In May, authorities banned Transvaal ANU President J. B. Marks from making public appearances; unable to maintain his position, he recommended Mandela as his successor. Although the ultra-Africanist Bafabegiya group opposed his candidacy, Mandela was elected regional president in October. On 30 July 1952, Mandela was arrested under the Suppression of Communism Act and stood trial as a part of the 21 accused – among them Moroka, Sisulu and Dadoo – in Johannesburg. Found guilty of “statutory communism”, their sentence of nine months’ hard labour was suspended for two years. In December, Mandela was given a six-month ban from attending meetings or talking to more than one individual at a time, making his Transvaal ANU presidency impractical. The Defiance Campaign petered out. In September 1953, Andrew Kunene read out Mandela’s “No Easy Walk to Freedom” speech at a Transvaal ANC meeting; the title was taken from a quote by Indian independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, a seminal influence on Mandela’s thought. The speech laid out a contingency plan for a scenario in which the ANC was banned. This Mandela Plan, or M-Plan, involved dividing the organisation into acell structure with a more centralised leadership.
Mandela obtained work as an attorney for the firm Terblanche and Briggish, before moving to the liberal-run Helman and Michel, passing qualification exams to become a full-fledged attorney. In August 1953, Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened their own law firm, Mandela and Tambo, operating in downtown Johannesburg. The only African-run law firm in the country, it was popular with aggrieved blacks, often dealing with cases of police brutality. Disliked by the authorities, the firm was forced to relocate to a remote location after their office permit was removed under the Group Areas Act; as a result, their custom dwindled. Though a second daughter, Makaziwe Phumia, was born in May 1954, Mandela’s relationship with Evelyn became strained, and she accused him of adultery. Evidence has emerged indicating that he was having affairs with ANC member Lillian Ngoyi and secretary Ruth Mompati; persistent but unproven claims assert that the latter bore Mandela a child. Disgusted by her son’s behaviour, Nosekeni returned to Transkei, and Evelyn embraced the Jehovah’s Witnesses and rejected Mandela’s obsession with politics.
Congress of the People and the Treason Trial: 1955–1961
“We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.”
Mandela came to the opinion that the ANC “had no alternative to armed and violent resistance” after taking part in the unsuccessful protest to prevent the demolition of the all-black Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg in February 1955. He advised Sisulu to request weaponry from the People’s Republic of China, but though supporting the anti-apartheid struggle, China’s government believed the movement insufficiently prepared for guerilla warfare. With the involvement of the South African Indian Congress, the Coloured People’s Congress, the South African Congress of Trade Unions and the Congress of Democrats, the ANC planned aCongress of the People, calling on all South Africans to send in proposals for a post-apartheid era. Based on the responses, a Freedom Charter was drafted by Rusty Bernstein, calling for the creation of a democratic, non-racialist state with the nationalisationof major industry. When the charter was adopted at a June 1955 conference in Kliptown attended by 3000 delegates, police cracked down on the event, but it remained a key part of Mandela’s ideology.
Following the end of a second ban in September 1955, Mandela went on a working holiday to Transkei to discuss the implications of the Bantu Authorities Act, 1951 with local tribal leaders, also visiting his mother and Noengland before proceeding to Cape Town. In March 1956 he received his third ban on public appearances, restricting him to Johannesburg for five years, but he often defied it. His marriage broke down as Evelyn left Mandela, taking their children to live with her brother. Initiating divorce proceedings in May 1956, she claimed that Mandela had physically abused her; he denied the allegations, and fought for custody of their children. She withdrew her petition of separation in November, but Mandela filed for divorce in January 1958; the divorce was finalised in March, with the children placed in Evelyn’s care. During the divorce proceedings, he began courting and politicising a social worker, Winnie Madikizela, who he married in Bizana on 14 June 1958. She later became involved in ANC activities, spending several weeks imprisoned.
On 5 December 1956, Mandela was arrested alongside most of the ANC Executive for “high treason” against the state. Held in Johannesburg Prison amid mass protests, they underwent a preparatory examination in Drill Hall on 19 December, before being granted bail. The defence’s refutation began on 9 January 1957, overseen by defence lawyer Vernon Berrangé, and continued until adjourning in September. In January 1958, judge Oswald Pirow was appointed to the case, and in February he ruled that there was “sufficient reason” for the defendants to go on trial in the Transvaal Supreme Court. The formal Treason Trial began in Pretoria in August 1958, with the defendants successfully applying to have the three judges – all linked to the governing National Party – replaced. In August, one charge was dropped, and in October the prosecution withdrew its indictment, submitting a reformulated version in November which argued that the ANC leadership committed high treason by advocating violent revolution, a charge the defendants denied.
In April 1959, militant Africanists dissatisfied with the ANC’s united front approach founded the Pan-African Congress (PAC); Mandela’s friend Robert Sobukwe was elected president, though Mandela thought the group “immature”. Both parties campaigned for an anti-pass campaign in May 1960, in which Africans burned the passes that they were legally obliged to carry. One of the PAC-organized demonstrations was fired upon by police, resulting in the deaths of 69 protesters in the Sharpeville massacre. In solidarity, Mandela publicly burned his pass as rioting broke out across South Africa, leading the government to proclaim martial law. Under the State of Emergency measures, Mandela and other activists were arrested on 30 March, imprisoned without charge in the unsanitary conditions of the Pretoria Local prison, and the ANC and PAC were banned in April. This made it difficult for their lawyers to reach them, and it was agreed that the defence team for the Treason Trial should withdraw in protest. Representing themselves in court, the accused were freed from prison when the state of emergency was lifted in late August. Mandela used his free time to organise an All-In African Conference near Pietermaritzburg, Natal, in March, at which 1,400 anti-apartheid delegates met, agreeing on a stay-at home protest to mark 31 May, the day South Africa became a republic. On 29 March 1961, after a six-year trial, the judges produced a verdict of not guilty, embarrassing the government.
Umkhonto we Sizwe and African tour: 1961–1962
Disguising himself as a chauffeur, Mandela travelled the country incognito, organising the ANC’s new cell structure and a mass stay-at-home strike for 29 May. Referred to as the “Black Pimpernel” in the press – a reference to Emma Orczy‘s 1905 novel The Scarlet Pimpernel – the police put out a warrant for his arrest. Mandela held secret meetings with reporters, and after the government failed to prevent the strike, he warned them that many anti-apartheid activists would soon resort to violence through groups like the PAC’sPoqo. He believed that the ANC should form an armed group to channel some of this violence, convincing both ANC leader Albert Luthuli – who was morally opposed to violence – and allied activist groups of its necessity.
Inspired by Fidel Castro‘s 26th of July Movement in the Cuban Revolution, in 1961 Mandela co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”, abbreviated MK) with Sisulu and the communist Joe Slovo. Becoming chairman of the militant group, he gained ideas from illegal literature on guerilla warfare by Mao and Che Guevara. Officially separate from the ANC, in later years MK became the group’s armed wing. Most early MK members were white communists; after hiding in communist Wolfie Kodesh’s flat in Berea, Mandela moved to the communist-owned Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, there joined by Raymond Mhlaba, Slovo and Bernstein, who put together the MK constitution. Although Mandela himself denied ever being a Communist Party member, historical research has suggested that he might have been for a short period, starting from the late 1950s or early 1960s. After his death, the Communist Party and the ANC confirmed that he was a Communist Party member when he was arrested in 1962.
Operating through a cell structure, the MK agreed to acts of sabotage to exert maximum pressure on the government with minimum casualties, bombing military installations, power plants, telephone lines and transport links at night, when civilians were not present. Mandela himself stated that they chose sabotage not only because it was the least harmful action, but also “because it did not involve loss of life [and] it offered the best hope for reconciliation among the races afterward.” He noted that “strict instructions were given to members of MK that we would countenance no loss of life”, but should these tactics fail, MK would resort to “guerilla warfare and terrorism”.
Soon after ANC leader Luthuli was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the MK publicly announced its existence with 57 bombings onDingane’s Day (16 December) 1961, followed by further attacks on New Year’s Eve.
The ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Traveling there in secret, Mandela met with Emperor Haile Selassie I, and gave his speech after Selassie’s at the conference. After the conference, he travelled to Cairo, Egypt, admiring the political reforms of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and then went to Tunis, Tunisia, where President Habib Bourguiba gave him £5000 for weaponry. He proceeded to Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal, receiving funds from Liberian President William Tubman and Guinean President Ahmed Sékou Touré.Leaving Africa for London, England, he met anti-apartheid activists, reporters and prominent leftist politicians. Returning to Ethiopia, he began a six-month course in guerrilla warfare, but completed only two months before being recalled to South Africa.
Arrest and Rivonia trial: 1962–1964
On 5 August 1962, police captured Mandela along with Cecil Williams near Howick. A large number of groups have been accused of having tipped off the police about Mandela’s whereabouts including Mandela’s host in Durban GR Naidoo, white members of the South African Communist Party, and the CIA, but Mandela himself considers none of these connections to be credible and instead attributes his arrest to his own carelessness in concealing his movements. Of the CIA link in particular, Mandela’s official biographer Anthony Sampson believes that “the claim cannot be substantiated.” Jailed in Johannesburg’s Marshall Square prison, he was charged with inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Representing himself with Slovo as legal advisor, Mandela intended to use the trial to showcase “the ANC’s moral opposition to racism” while supporters demonstrated outside the court. Moved to Pretoria, where Winnie could visit him, in his cell he began correspondence studies for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from theUniversity of London. His hearing began on 15 October, but he disrupted proceedings by wearing a traditional kaross, refusing to call any witnesses, and turning his plea of mitigation into a political speech. Found guilty, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; as he left the courtroom, supporters sang Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika.
“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 for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. ”
“In a way I had never quite comprehended before, I realized the role I could play in court and the possibilities before me as a defendant. I was the symbol of justice in the court of the oppressor, the representative of the great ideals of freedom, fairness and democracy in a society that dishonoured those virtues. I realized then and there that I could carry on the fight even in the fortress of the enemy.”
On 11 July 1963, police raided Liliesleaf Farm, arresting those they found there and uncovering paperwork documenting MK’s activities, some of which mentioned Mandela. The Rivonia Trial began at Pretoria Supreme Court on 9 October, with Mandela and his comrades charged with four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government. Their chief prosecutor wasPercy Yutar, who called for them to receive the death penalty. Judge Quartus de Wet soon threw out the prosecution’s case for insufficient evidence, but Yutar reformulated the charges, presenting his new case from December until February 1964, calling 173 witnesses and bringing thousands of documents and photographs to the trial.
With the exception of James Kantor, who was innocent of all charges, Mandela and the accused admitted sabotage but denied that they had ever agreed to initiate guerilla war against the government. They used the trial to highlight their political cause. At the opening of the defence’s proceedings Mandela gave a four hour long speech. That speech – which was inspired by Castro’s “History Will Absolve Me” speech – was widely reported in the press despite official censorship, and has been hailed as one of his greatest speeches. The trial gained international attention, with global calls for the release of the accused from such institutions as the United Nations and World Peace Council. The University of London Union voted Mandela to its presidency, and nightly vigils for him were held in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Deeming them to be violent communist agitators, South Africa’s government ignored all calls for clemency, and on 12 June 1964 de Wet found Mandela and two of his co-accused guilty on all four charges, sentencing them to life imprisonment rather than death.
Robben Island: 1964–1982
Mandela and his co-accused were transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years. Isolated from non-political prisoners in Section B, Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet (2.4 m) by 7 feet (2.1 m), with a straw mat on which to sleep. Verbally and physically harassed by several white prison wardens, the Rivonia Trial prisoners spent their days breaking rocks into gravel, until being reassigned in January 1965 to work in a lime quarry. Mandela was initially forbidden to wear sunglasses, and the glare from the lime permanently damaged his eyesight. At night, he worked on his LLB degree, but newspapers were forbidden, and he was locked in solitary confinement on several occasions for possessing smuggled news clippings. Classified as the lowest grade of prisoner, Class D, he was permitted one visit and one letter every six months, although all mail was heavily censored.
The political prisoners took part in work and hunger strikes – the latter considered largely ineffective by Mandela – to improve prison conditions, viewing this as a microcosm of the anti-apartheid struggle. ANC prisoners elected him to their four-man “High Organ” along with Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba, and he involved himself in a group representing all political prisoners on the island, Ulundi, through which he forged links with PAC and Yu Chi Chan Club members. Initiating the “University of Robben Island”, whereby prisoners lectured on their own areas of expertise, he debated topics such as homosexuality and politics with his comrades, getting into fierce arguments on the latter with Marxists like Mbeki and Harry Gwala. Though attending Christian Sunday services, Mandela studied Islam. He also studied Afrikaans, hoping to build a mutual respect with the warders and convert them to his cause. Various official visitors met with Mandela; most significant was the liberal parliamentary representative Helen Suzman of theProgressive Party, who championed Mandela’s cause outside prison. In September 1970 he met British Labour Party MP Dennis Healey. South African Minister of JusticeJimmy Kruger visited in December 1974, but he and Mandela did not get on. His mother visited in 1968, dying shortly after, and his firstborn son Thembi died in a car accident the following year; Mandela was forbidden from attending either funeral. His wife was rarely able to visit, being regularly imprisoned for political activity, and his daughters first visited in December 1975; Winnie got out of prison in 1977 but was forcibly settled in Brandfort, still unable to visit him.
From 1967, prison conditions improved, with black prisoners given trousers rather than shorts, games being permitted, and food quality improving. In a FIFA documentary, Mandela commented on howfootball gave hope to his fellow inmates; “the game made us feel alive and triumphant despite the situation we found ourselves in”. In 1969, an escape plan for Mandela was developed by Gordon Bruce, but it was abandoned after being infiltrated by an agent of the South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS), who hoped to see Mandela shot during the escape. In 1970, Commander Piet Badenhorst became commanding officer. Mandela, seeing an increase in the physical and mental abuse of prisoners, complained to visiting judges, who had Badenhorst reassigned. He was replaced by Commander Willie Willemse, who developed a co-operative relationship with Mandela and was keen to improve prison standards. By 1975, Mandela had become a Class A prisoner, allowing greater numbers of visits and letters; he corresponded with anti-apartheid activists like Mangosuthu Buthelezi andDesmond Tutu. That year, he began his autobiography, which was smuggled to London, but remained unpublished at the time; prison authorities discovered several pages, and his study privileges were stopped for four years. Instead he devoted his spare time to gardening and reading until he resumed his LLB degree studies in 1980.
By the late 1960s, Mandela’s fame had been eclipsed by Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). Seeing the ANC as ineffectual, the BCM called for militant action, but following the Soweto uprising of 1976, many BCM activists were imprisoned on Robben Island. Mandela tried to build a relationship with these young radicals, although he was critical of their racialism and contempt for white anti-apartheid activists. Renewed international interest in his plight came in July 1978, when he celebrated his 60th birthday. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Lesotho, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in India in 1979, and the Freedom of the City ofGlasgow, Scotland in 1981. In March 1980 the slogan “Free Mandela!” was developed by journalist Percy Qoboza, sparking an international campaign that led the UN Security Council to call for his release. Despite increasing foreign pressure, the government refused, relying on powerful foreign Cold War allies in US President Ronald Reaganand UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; both considered Mandela a communist terrorist and supported the suppression of the ANC.
Pollsmoor Prison: 1982–1988
In April 1982 Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town along with senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Raymond Mhlaba; they believed that they were being isolated to remove their influence on younger activists. Conditions at Pollsmoor were better than at Robben Island, although Mandela missed the camaraderie and scenery of the island. Getting on well with Pollsmoor’s commanding officer, Brigadier Munro, Mandela was permitted to create a roof garden,also reading voraciously and corresponding widely, now permitted 52 letters a year. He was appointed patron of the multi-racial United Democratic Front (UDF), founded to combat reforms implemented by South African President P.W. Botha. Botha’s National Party government had permitted Coloured and Indian citizens to vote for their own parliaments which had control over education, health, and housing, but black Africans were excluded from the system; like Mandela, the UDF saw this as an attempt to divide the anti-apartheid movement on racial lines.
Violence across the country escalated, with many fearing civil war. Under pressure from an international lobby, multinational banks stopped investing in South Africa, resulting in economic stagnation. Numerous banks and Thatcher asked Botha to release Mandela – then at the height of his international fame – to defuse the volatile situation. Although considering Mandela a dangerous “arch-Marxist”, in February 1985 Botha offered him a release from prison on condition that he ‘”unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon”. Mandela spurned the offer, releasing a statement through his daughter Zindzi stating “What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people [ANC] remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”
In 1985 Mandela underwent surgery on an enlarged prostate gland, before being given new solitary quarters on the ground floor. He was met by “seven eminent persons”, an international delegation sent to negotiate a settlement, but Botha’s government refused to co-operate, in June calling a state of emergency and initiating a police crackdown on unrest. The anti-apartheid resistance fought back, with the ANC committing 231 attacks in 1986 and 235 in 1987. Utilising the army and right-wing paramilitaries to combat the resistance, the government secretly funded Zulunationalist movement Inkatha to attack ANC members, furthering the violence. Mandela requested talks with Botha but was denied, instead secretly meeting with Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee in 1987, having a further 11 meetings over 3 years. Coetsee organised negotiations between Mandela and a team of four government figures starting in May 1988; the team agreed to the release of political prisoners and the legalisation of the ANC on the condition that they permanently renounce violence, break links with the Communist Party and not insist on majority rule. Mandela rejected these conditions, insisting that the ANC would only end the armed struggle when the government renounced violence.
Mandela’s 70th birthday in July 1988 attracted international attention, notably with the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at London’sWembley Stadium. Although presented globally as a heroic figure, he faced personal problems when ANC leaders informed him that Winnie had set herself up as head of a criminal gang, the “Mandela United Football Club”, who had been responsible for torturing and killing opponents – including children – in Soweto. Though some encouraged him to divorce her, he decided to remain loyal until she was found guilty by trial.
Victor Verster Prison and release: 1988–1990
Recovering from tuberculosis caused by dank conditions in his cell, in December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison nearPaarl. Here, he was housed in the relative comfort of a warder’s house with a personal cook, using the time to complete his LLB degree.There he was permitted many visitors, such as anti-apartheid campaigner and longtime friend Harry Schwarz. Mandela organised secret communications with exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo. In 1989, Botha suffered a stroke, retaining the state presidency but stepping down as leader of the National Party, to be replaced by the conservative F. W. de Klerk. In a surprise move, Botha invited Mandela to a meeting over tea in July 1989, an invitation Mandela considered genial. Botha was replaced as state president by de Klerk six weeks later; the new president believed that apartheid was unsustainable and unconditionally released all ANC prisoners except Mandela. Following the fall of theBerlin Wall in November 1989, de Klerk called his cabinet together to debate legalising the ANC and freeing Mandela. Although some were deeply opposed to his plans, de Klerk met with Mandela in December to discuss the situation, a meeting both men considered friendly, before releasing Mandela unconditionally and legalising all formerly banned political parties on 2 February 1990. The first photographs of Mandela were allowed to be published in South Africa for 20 years.
Leaving Victor Verster on 11 February, Mandela held Winnie’s hand in front of amassed crowds and press; the event was broadcast live across the world. Driven to Cape Town’s City Hall through crowds, he gave a speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority, but made it clear that the ANC’s armed struggle was not over, and would continue as “a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.” He expressed hope that the government would agree to negotiations, so that “there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle”, and insisted that his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in national and local elections. Staying at the home of Desmond Tutu, in the following days Mandela met with friends, activists, and press, giving a speech to 100,000 people at Johannesburg’sSoccer City.
End of apartheid
Early negotiations: 1990–1991
Mandela proceeded on an African tour, meeting supporters and politicians in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Libya and Algeria, continuing to Sweden where he was reunited with Tambo, and then London, where he appeared at the Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa concert in Wembley Stadium. Encouraging foreign countries to support sanctions against the apartheid government, in France he was welcomed by President François Mitterrand, in Vatican City by Pope John Paul II, and in the United Kingdom he met Margaret Thatcher. In the United States, he met President George H.W. Bush, addressed both Houses of Congress and visited eight cities, being particularly popular among the African-American community. In Cuba he met President Fidel Castro, whom he had long admired, with the two becoming friends. In Asia he met President R. Venkataraman in India, President Suharto in Indonesia and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia, before visiting Australia to meet Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Japan; he notably did not visit the Soviet Union, a longtime ANC supporter.
In May 1990, Mandela led a multiracial ANC delegation into preliminary negotiations with a government delegation of 11 Afrikaner men. Mandela impressed them with his discussions of Afrikaner history, and the negotiations led to the Groot Schuur Minute, in which the government lifted the state of emergency. In August Mandela – recognising the ANC’s severe military disadvantage – offered a ceasefire, the Pretoria Minute, for which he was widely criticised by MK activists. He spent much time trying to unify and build the ANC, appearing at a Johannesburg conference in December attended by 1600 delegates, many of whom found him more moderate than expected. At the ANC’s July 1991 national conference in Durban, Mandela admitted the party’s faults and announced his aim to build a “strong and well-oiled task force” for securing majority rule. At the conference, he was elected ANC President, replacing the ailing Tambo, and a 50-strong multiracial, mixed gendered national executive was elected.
Mandela was given an office in the newly purchased ANC headquarters at Shell House, central Johannesburg, and moved with Winnie to her large Soweto home. Their marriage was increasingly strained as he learned of her affair with Dali Mpofu, but he supported her during her trial for kidnapping and assault. He gained funding for her defence from the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa and from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but in June 1991 she was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to two on appeal. On 13 April 1992, Mandela publicly announced his separation from Winnie. The ANC forced her to step down from the national executive for misappropriating ANC funds; Mandela moved into the mostly white Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. Mandela’s reputation was further damaged by the increase in “black-on-black” violence, particularly between ANC and Inkatha supporters in KwaZulu-Natal, in which thousands died. Mandela met with Inkatha leader Buthelezi, but the ANC prevented further negotiations on the issue. Mandela recognised that there was a “third force” within the state intelligence services fuelling the “slaughter of the people” and openly blamed de Klerk – whom he increasingly distrusted – for the Sebokeng massacre. In September 1991 a national peace conference was held in Johannesburg in which Mandela, Buthelezi and de Klerk signed a peace accord, though the violence continued.
CODESA talks: 1991–1992
The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began in December 1991 at the Johannesburg World Trade Center, attended by 228 delegates from 19 political parties. Although Cyril Ramaphosa led the ANC’s delegation, Mandela remained a key figure, and after de Klerk used the closing speech to condemn the ANC’s violence, he took to the stage to denounce him as “head of an illegitimate, discredited minority regime”. Dominated by the National Party and ANC, little negotiation was achieved. CODESA 2 was held in May 1992, in which de Klerk insisted that post-apartheid South Africa must use a federal system with a rotating presidency to ensure the protection of ethnic minorities; Mandela opposed this, demanding a unitary system governed by majority rule. Following the Boipatong massacre of ANC activists by government-aided Inkatha militants, Mandela called off the negotiations, before attending a meeting of the Organisation of African Unity in Senegal, at which he called for a special session of the UN Security Council and proposed that a UN peacekeeping force be stationed in South Africa to prevent “state terrorism“. The UN sent special envoy Cyrus Vance to the country to aid negotiations.Calling for domestic mass action, in August the ANC organised the largest-ever strike in South African history, and supporters marched on Pretoria.
Following the Bisho massacre, in which 28 ANC supporters and one soldier were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force during a protest march, Mandela realised that mass action was leading to further violence and resumed negotiations in September. He agreed to do so on the conditions that all political prisoners be released, that Zulu traditional weapons be banned, and that Zulu hostels would be fenced off, the latter two measures to prevent further Inkatha attacks; under increasing pressure, de Klerk reluctantly agreed. The negotiations agreed that a multiracial general election would be held, resulting in a five-year coalition government of national unity and a constitutional assembly that gave the National Party continuing influence. The ANC also conceded to safeguarding the jobs of white civil servants; such concessions brought fierce internal criticism. The duo agreed on an interim constitution, guaranteeing separation of powers, creating a constitutional court, and including a US-style bill of rights; it also divided the country into nine provinces, each with its own premier and civil service, a concession between de Klerk’s desire for federalism and Mandela’s for unitary government.
The democratic process was threatened by the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG), an alliance of far-right Afrikaner parties and black ethnic-secessionist groups like Inkatha; in June 1993 the white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) attacked the Kempton Park World Trade Centre. Following the murder of ANC leader Chris Hani, Mandela made a publicised speech to calm rioting, soon after appearing at a mass funeral in Soweto for Tambo, who had died from a stroke. In July 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk visited the US, independently meeting President Bill Clinton and each receiving the Liberty Medal. Soon after, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. Influenced by young ANC leader Thabo Mbeki, Mandela began meeting with big business figures, and played down his support for nationalisation, fearing that he would scare away much-needed foreign investment. Although criticised by socialist ANC members, he was encouraged to embrace private enterprise by members of the Chinese and Vietnamese Communist parties at the January 1992 World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Mandela also made a cameo appearance as a schoolteacher reciting one ofMalcolm X‘s speeches in the final scene of the 1992 film Malcolm X.
General election: 1994
With the election set for 27 April 1994, the ANC began campaigning, opening 100 election offices and hiring advisor Stanley Greenberg. Greenberg orchestrated the foundation of People’s Forums across the country, at which Mandela could appear; though a poor public speaker, he was a popular figure with great status among black South Africans. The ANC campaigned on a Reconstruction and Development Programme(RDP) to build a million houses in five years, introduce universal free education and extend access to water and electricity. The party’s slogan was “a better life for all”, although it was not explained how this development would be funded. With the exception of the Weekly Mail and the New Nation, South Africa’s press opposed Mandela’s election, fearing continued ethnic strife, instead supporting the National or Democratic Party.Mandela devoted much time to fundraising for the ANC, touring North America, Europe and Asia to meet wealthy donors, including former supporters of the apartheid regime. He also urged a reduction in the voting age from 18 to 14; rejected by the ANC, this policy became the subject of ridicule.
Concerned that COSAG would undermine the election, particularly in the wake of the Battle of Bop and Shell House Massacre – incidents of violence involving the AWB and Inkatha, respectively – Mandela met with Afrikaner politicians and generals, including P.W. Botha, Pik Botha andConstand Viljoen, persuading many to work within the democratic system, and with de Klerk convinced Inkatha’s Buthelezi to enter the elections rather than launch a war of secession. As leaders of the two major parties, de Klerk and Mandela appeared on a televised debate; although de Klerk was widely considered the better speaker at the event, Mandela’s offer to shake his hand surprised him, leading some commentators to consider it a victory for Mandela. The election went ahead with little violence, although an AWB cell killed 20 with car bombs. As widely expected, the ANC won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote, just short of the two-thirds majority needed to unilaterally change the constitution. The ANC was also victorious in 7 provinces, with Inkatha and the National Party each taking another. Mandela voted at theOhlange High School in Durban, and though the ANC’s victory assured his election as President, he publicly accepted that the election had been marred by instances of fraud and sabotage.
Presidency of South Africa: 1994–1999
The newly elected National Assembly’s first act was to formally elect Mandela as South Africa’s first black chief executive. His inauguration took place in Pretoria on 10 May 1994, televised to a billion viewers globally. The event was attended by 4000 guests, including world leaders from disparate backgrounds. Mandela headed a Government of National Unity dominated by the ANC – which alone had no experience of governance – but containing representatives from the National Party and Inkatha. Under the Interim Constitution, Inkatha and the NP were entitled to seats in the government by virtue of winning at least 20 seats. In keeping with earlier agreements, de Klerk became first Deputy President, and Thabo Mbeki was selected as second. Although Mbeki had not been his first choice for the job, Mandela grew to rely heavily on him throughout his presidency, allowing him to organise policy details. Moving into the presidential office at Tuynhuys in Cape Town, Mandela allowed de Klerk to retain the presidential residence in the Groote Schuur estate, instead settling into the nearby Westbrooke manor, which he renamed “Genadendal“, meaning “Valley of Mercy” in Afrikaans. Retaining his Houghton home, he also had a house built in his home village of Qunu, which he visited regularly, walking around the area, meeting with locals, and judging tribal disputes.
Aged 76, he faced various ailments, and although exhibiting continued energy, he felt isolated and lonely. He often entertained celebrities, such as Michael Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, and the Spice Girls, and befriended ultra-rich businessmen, like Harry Oppenheimer of Anglo-American, as well as Queen Elizabeth II on her March 1995 state visit to South Africa, resulting in strong criticism from ANC anti-capitalists. Despite his opulent surroundings, Mandela lived simply, donating a third of his 552,000 rand annual income to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, which he had founded in 1995. Although speaking out in favour of freedom of the press and befriending many journalists, Mandela was critical of much of the country’s media, noting that it was overwhelmingly owned and run by middle-class whites and believing that it focused too much on scaremongering around crime. Changing clothes several times a day, after assuming the presidency, one of Mandela’s trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as “Madiba shirts“, even on formal occasions.
In December 1994, Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was finally published. In late 1994 he attended the 49th conference of the ANC in Bloemfontein, at which a more militant National Executive was elected, among them Winnie Mandela; although she expressed an interest in reconciling, Nelson initiated divorce proceedings in August 1995. By 1995 he had entered into a relationship with Graça Machel, a Mozambican political activist 27 years his junior who was the widow of former president Samora Machel. They had first met in July 1990, when she was still in mourning, but their friendship grew into a partnership, with Machel accompanying him on many of his foreign visits. She turned down Mandela’s first marriage proposal, wanting to retain some independence and dividing her time between Mozambique and Johannesburg.
Presiding over the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy, Mandela saw national reconciliation as the primary task of his presidency. Having seen other post-colonial African economies damaged by the departure of white elites, Mandela worked to reassure South Africa’s white population that they were protected and represented in “the Rainbow Nation“. Mandela attempted to create the broadest possible coalition in his cabinet, with de Klerk as first Deputy President. Other National Party officials became ministers for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, and Minerals and Energy, and Buthelezi was named Minister for Home Affairs. The other cabinet positions were taken by ANC members, many of whom – like Joe Modise, Alfred Nzo, Joe Slovo, Mac Maharaj and Dullah Omar – had long been comrades, although others, such as Tito Mboweni and Jeff Radebe, were much younger. Mandela’s relationship with de Klerk was strained; Mandela thought that de Klerk was intentionally provocative, and de Klerk felt that he was being intentionally humiliated by the president. In January 1995, Mandela heavily chastised him for awarding amnesty to 3,500 police just before the election, and later criticised him for defending former Minister of Defence Magnus Malan when the latter was charged with murder.
Mandela personally met with senior figures of the apartheid regime, including Hendrik Verwoerd‘s widow Betsie Schoombie and the lawyer Percy Yutar; emphasising personal forgiveness and reconciliation, he announced that “courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” He encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated national rugby team, the Springboks, as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar’s own number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans; as de Klerk later put it, “Mandela won the hearts of millions of white rugby fans.” Mandela’s efforts at reconciliation assuaged the fears of whites, but also drew criticism from more militant blacks. His estranged wife, Winnie, accused the ANC of being more interested in appeasing whites than in helping blacks.
More controversially, Mandela oversaw the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed under apartheid by both the government and the ANC, appointing Desmond Tutu as its chair. To prevent the creation of martyrs, the Commission granted individual amnesties in exchange for testimony of crimes committed during the apartheid era. Dedicated in February 1996, it held two years of hearings detailing rapes, torture, bombings, and assassinations, before issuing its final report in October 1998. Both de Klerk and Mbeki appealed to have parts of the report suppressed, though only de Klerk’s appeal was successful. Mandela praised the Commission’s work, stating that it “had helped us move away from the past to concentrate on the present and the future”.
Mandela’s administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between white and black communities. Of a population of 40 million, around 23 million lacked electricity or adequate sanitation, 12 million lacked clean water supplies, with 2 million children not in school and a third of the population illiterate. There was 33% unemployment, and just under half of the population lived below the poverty line.Government financial reserves were nearly depleted, with a fifth of the national budget being spent on debt repayment, meaning that the extent of the promised Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was scaled back, with none of the proposed nationalisation or job creation.Instead, the government adopted liberal economic policies designed to promote foreign investment, adhering to the “Washington consensus” advocated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Under Mandela’s presidency, welfare spending increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99. The government introduced parity in grants for communities, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups. In 1994, free healthcare was introduced for children under six and pregnant women, a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996. By the 1999 election, the ANC could boast that due to their policies, 3 million people were connected to telephone lines, 1.5 million children were brought into the education system, 500 clinics were upgraded or constructed, 2 million people were connected to the electricity grid, water access was extended to 3 million people, and 750,000 houses were constructed, housing nearly 3 million people.
The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims. The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996 safeguarded the rights of labour tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a court order or if they were over the age of sixty-five. The Skills Development Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace.The Labour Relations Act of 1995 promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 improved enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all workers; the Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.
Many domestic problems remained. Critics like Edwin Cameron accused Mandela’s government of doing little to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country; by 1999, 10% of South Africa’s population were HIV positive. Mandela later admitted that he had personally neglected the issue, leaving it for Mbeki to deal with. Mandela also received criticism for failing to sufficiently combat crime, South Africa having one of the world’s highest crime rates; this was a key reason cited by the 750,000 whites who emigrated in the late 1990s. Mandela’s administration was mired in corruption scandals, with Mandela being perceived as “soft” on corruption and greed.
Following the South African example, Mandela encouraged other nations to resolve conflicts through diplomacy and reconciliation. He echoed Mbeki’s calls for an “African Renaissance“, and was greatly concerned with issues on the continent; he took a soft diplomatic approach to removing Sani Abacha‘s military junta in Nigeria but later became a leading figure in calling for sanctions when Abacha’s regime increased human rights violations. In 1996 he was appointed Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and initiated unsuccessful negotiations to end the First Congo War in Zaire. In South Africa’s first post-apartheid military operation, Mandela ordered troops into Lesotho in September 1998 to protect the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili after a disputed election prompted opposition uprisings.
In September 1998, Mandela was appointed Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, who held their annual conference in Durban. He used the event to criticise the “narrow, chauvinistic interests” of the Israeli government in stalling negotiations to end theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict and urged India and Pakistan to negotiate to end the Kashmir conflict, for which he was criticised by both Israel and India. Inspired by the region’s economic boom, Mandela sought greater economic relations with East Asia, in particular with Malaysia, although this was scuppered by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He attracted controversy for his close relationship with Indonesian President Suharto, whose regime was responsible for mass human rights abuses, although privately urged him to withdraw from the occupation of East Timor.
Mandela faced similar criticism from the West for his personal friendships with Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi. Castro visited in 1998, to widespread popular acclaim, and Mandela met Gaddafi in Libya to award him the Order of Good Hope. When Western governments and media criticised these visits, Mandela lambasted the criticisms as having racist undertones. Mandela hoped to resolve the long-running dispute between Libya and the US and Britain over bringing to trial the two Libyans, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi andLamin Khalifah Fhimah, who were indicted in November 1991 and accused of sabotaging Pan Am Flight 103. Mandela proposed that they be tried in a third country, which was agreed to by all parties; governed by Scots law, the trial was held at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in April 1999, and found one of the two men guilty.
Withdrawing from politics
The new Constitution of South Africa was agreed upon by parliament in May 1996, enshrining a series of institutions to check political and administrative authority within a constitutional democracy. De Klerk opposed the implementation of this constitution, withdrawing from the coalition government in protest. The ANC took over the cabinet positions formerly held by the National Party, with Mbeki becoming sole Deputy President. When both Mandela and Mbeki were out of the country in one occasion, Buthelezi was appointed “Acting President”, marking an improvement in his relationship with Mandela.
Mandela stepped down as ANC President at the December 1997 conference, and although hoping that Ramaphosa would replace him, the ANC elected Mbeki to the position; Mandela admitted that by then, Mbeki had become “de facto President of the country”. Replacing Mbeki as Deputy President, Mandela and the Executive supported the candidacy of Jacob Zuma, a Zulu who had been imprisoned on Robben Island, but he was challenged by Winnie, whose populist rhetoric had gained her a strong following within the party; Zuma defeated her in a landslide victory vote at the election.
Mandela’s relationship with Machel had intensified; in February 1998 he publicly stated that “I’m in love with a remarkable lady”, and under pressure from his friend Desmond Tutu, who urged him to set an example for young people, he set a wedding for his 80th birthday, in July. The following day he held a grand party with many foreign dignitaries. The 1996 constitution limited the president to two consecutive five-year terms. Mandela did not attempt to amend the document to remove the two-term limit; indeed, he had never planned on standing for a second term in office. He gave his farewell speech on 29 March 1999, after which he retired.
Continued activism and philanthropy: 1999–2004
Retiring in June 1999, Mandela sought a quiet family life, to be divided between Johannesburg and Qunu. He set about authoring a sequel to his first autobiography, to be titled The Presidential Years, but it was abandoned before publication. Finding such seclusion difficult, he reverted to a busy public life with a daily programme of tasks, meeting with world leaders and celebrities, and when in Johannesburg worked with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, founded in 1999 to focus on combating HIV/AIDS, rural development and school construction. Although he had been heavily criticised for failing to do enough to fight the pandemic during his presidency, he devoted much of his time to the issue following his retirement, describing it as “a war” that had killed more than “all previous wars”, and urged Mbeki’s government to ensure that HIV+ South Africans had access to retrovirals. In 2000, the Nelson Mandela Invitationalcharity golf tournament was founded, hosted by Gary Player. Mandela was successfully treated for prostate cancer in July 2001.
In 2002, Mandela inaugurated the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, and in 2003 the Mandela Rhodes Foundation was created at Rhodes House, University of Oxford, to provide postgraduate scholarships to African students. These projects were followed by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the 46664 campaign against HIV/AIDS. He gave the closing address at the XIII International AIDS Conference in Durban in 2000, and in 2004, spoke at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
Publicly, Mandela became more vocal in criticising Western powers. He strongly opposed the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and called it an attempt by the world’s powerful nations to police the entire world. In 2003 he spoke out against the plans for the US and UK to launch the War in Iraq, describing it as “a tragedy” and lambasting US PresidentGeorge W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for undermining the UN. “All that (Mr. Bush) wants is Iraqi oil,”. He attacked the US more generally, asserting that it had committed more “unspeakable atrocities” across the world than any other nation, citing the atomic bombing of Japan; this attracted international controversy, although he later reconciled his relationship with Blair. Retaining an interest in Libyan-UK relations, he visited Megrahi in Barlinnie prison and spoke out against the conditions of his treatment, referring to them as “psychological persecution”.
“Retiring from retirement”, illness: 2004–2013
In June 2004, aged 85 and amid failing health, Mandela announced that he was “retiring from retirement” and retreating from public life, remarking “Don’t call me, I will call you.” Although continuing to meet with close friends and family, the Foundation discouraged invitations for him to appear at public events and denied most interview requests.
He retained some involvement in international affairs. In 2005, he founded the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust, travelling to the U.S., to speak before the Brookings Institute and the NAACP on the need for economic assistance to Africa. He spoke with U.S. SenatorHillary Clinton and President George W. Bush and first met then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Mandela also encouraged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to resign over growing human rights abuses in the country. When this proved ineffective, he spoke out publicly against Mugabe in 2007, asking him to step down “with residual respect and a modicum of dignity.” That year, Mandela, Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened a group of world leaders in Johannesburg to contribute their wisdom and independent leadership to some of the world’s toughest problems. Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, in a speech delivered on his 89th birthday.
Mandela’s 90th birthday was marked across the country on 18 July 2008, with the main celebrations held at Qunu, and a concert in his honour in Hyde Park, London. In a speech marking the event, Mandela called for the rich to help the poor across the world. Throughout Mbeki’s presidency, Mandela continued to support the ANC, although usually overshadowed Mbeki at any public events that the two attended. Mandela was more at ease with Mbeki’s successor Jacob Zuma, although the Nelson Mandela Foundation were upset when his grandson, Mandla Mandela, flew him out to the Eastern Cape to attend a pro-Zuma rally in the midst of a storm in 2009.
In 2004, Mandela had successfully campaigned for South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, declaring that there would be “few better gifts for us in the year” marking a decade since the fall of apartheid. Mandela emotionally raised the FIFA World Cup Trophy after South Africa was awarded host status. Despite maintaining a low profile during the event due to ill-health, Mandela made his final public appearance during the World Cup closing ceremony, where he received a “rapturous reception”. Between 2005 and 2013, Mandela, and later his family, were embroiled in a series of legal disputes regarding money held in family trusts for the benefit of his descendants. In mid-2013, as Mandela was hospitalised for a lung infection in Pretoria, his descendants were involved in intra-family legal dispute relating to the burial place of Mandela’s children, and ultimately Mandela himself.
In February 2011, he was briefly hospitalised with a respiratory infection, attracting international attention, before being re-hospitalised for a lung infection and gallstone removal in December 2012. After a successful medical procedure in early March 2013, his lung infection recurred, and he was briefly hospitalised in Pretoria. On 8 June 2013, his lung infection worsened, and he was rehospitalised in Pretoria in a serious condition. After four days, it was reported that he had stabilised and remained in a “serious, but stable condition”. En route to the hospital, his ambulance broke down and was stranded on the roadside for 40 minutes. The government was criticised for the incident, but Zuma countered that throughout, Mandela was given “expert medical care.”
On 22 June 2013, CBS News stated that he had not opened his eyes in days and was unresponsive, and the family was discussing how much medical intervention should be given. Former bodyguard Shaun van Heerden, described by CBS News as “Mandela’s constant companion for the last 12 years”, had publicly asked the family to “set him free” a week prior. On 23 June 2013, Zuma announced that Mandela’s condition had become “critical“. Zuma, accompanied by the Deputy President of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, met Mandela’s wife Graça Machel at the hospital in Pretoria and discussed his condition. On 25 June Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba visited Mandela at the hospital and prayed with Graça Machel Mandela “at this hard time of watching and waiting”. The next day, Zuma visited Mandela in the hospital and canceled a visit scheduled for the next day to Mozambique. A relative of Mandela told The Daily Telegraph newspaper he was onlife support.
On 4 July, it was reported that David Smith, a lawyer acting on behalf of Mandela family members, claimed in court on 26 June that Mandela was in a permanent vegetative state and life support should be withdrawn. The South African Presidency stated that the doctors treating Mandela denied that he was in a vegetative state. On 10 July, Zuma’s office announced that Mandela remained in critical but stable condition, and was responding to treatment.
Death and funeral
Mandela died of a lung infection on 5 December 2013 at around 20:50 local time (UTC+2) at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, surrounded by his family. He was 95. His death was announced by President Jacob Zuma.
On 6 December 2013, President Zuma announced a national mourning period of ten days, with the main event held at the FNB Stadiumin Johannesburg on 10 December 2013. He declared 8 December 2013 a national day of prayer and reflection: “We call upon all our people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes to pray and hold prayer services and meditation reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the world.” Mandela’s body will lie in state from 11–13 December at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and a state funeral will be held on 15 December 2013 in Qunu, South Africa.
Mandela was an African nationalist, an ideological position he held since joining the ANC, also being “a democrat, and a socialist”. Although he presented himself in an autocratic manner in several speeches, Mandela was a devout believer in democracy and abided by majority decisions even when deeply disagreeing with them. He held a conviction that “inclusivity, accountability and freedom of speech” were the fundamentals of democracy, and was driven by a belief in natural and human rights. This belief drove him to not only pursue racial equality but also to promote gay rights as part of the post-apartheid reforms.
A democratic socialist, Mandela was “openly opposed to capitalism, private land-ownership and the power of big money”. Influenced by Marxism, during the revolution Mandela advocated scientific socialism, although he denied being a communist during the Treason Trial. Biographer David James Smith thought this untrue, stating that Mandela “embraced communism and communists” in the late 1950s and early 1960s, though was a “fellow traveller” rather than a party member. In the 1955 Freedom Charter, which Mandela had helped create, it called for the nationalisation of banks, gold mines, and land, believing it necessary to ensure equal distribution of wealth. Despite these beliefs, Mandela nationalised nothing during his presidency, fearing that this would scare away foreign investors. This decision was in part influenced by the fall of the socialist states in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc during the early 1990s.
Mandela was a private person who often concealed his emotions and confided in very few people. Privately, he lived an austere life, refusing to drink alcohol or smoke, and even as President made his own bed, although was also renowned for his mischievous sense of humour. He was known for being both stubborn and loyal, and at times exhibited a quick temper. He was typically friendly and welcoming, and appeared relaxed in conversation with everyone, including his opponents. Constantly polite and courteous, he was attentive to everyone, irrespective of their age or status, and often talked to children or servants. In later life he always looked for the best in people, even defending political opponents to his allies, who sometimes thought him too trusting of others. He was highly image conscious, and throughout his life always sought out fine quality clothes, with many commentators believing that he carried himself in a regal manner. His official biographer Anthony Sampson commented that he was a “master of imagery and performance”, excelling at presenting himself well in press photographs and producing soundbites. In describing his life, Mandela stated that “I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”
Mandela was married three times, fathered six children, had 17 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren. He could be stern and demanding of his children, although he was more affectionate with his grandchildren. His first marriage was to Evelyn Ntoko Mase in October 1944; they divorced after 13 years in 1957 under the multiple strains of his adultery and constant absences, devotion to revolutionary agitation, and the fact that she was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion requiring political neutrality. The couple had two sons whom Mandela survived, Madiba “Thembi” Thembekile (1945–1969) and Makgatho Mandela (1950–2005); his first son died in a car crash, and his second son died of AIDS. The couple had two daughters, both named Makaziwe Mandela (born 1947 and 1954); the first died at the age of nine months, the second, known as “Maki“, survived Mandela. Makgatho’s son, Mandla Mandela, became chief of the Mvezo tribal council in 2007.
Mandela’s second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also came from the Transkei area, although they, too, met in Johannesburg, where she was the city’s first black social worker. They had two daughters, Zenani (Zeni), born 4 February 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, born 1960. Zindzi was only 18 months old when her father was sent to Robben island. Later, Winnie was deeply torn by family discord which mirrored the country’s political strife; separation (April 1992) and divorce (March 1996), fuelled by political estrangement. Mandela’s third wife was Graça Machel (née Simbine), whom he married on his 80th birthday in 1998.
Influence and legacy
By the time of his death, Mandela had come to be widely considered “the father of the nation” within South Africa, and “the founding father of democracy”, being seen as “the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one”. Mandela’s biographer Anthony Sampson commented that even during his life, a myth had developed around him that turned him into “a secular saint” and which was “so powerful that it blurs the realities.”Within a decade after the end of his Presidency, Mandela’s era was being widely thought of as “a golden age of hope and harmony”. Across the world, Mandela earned international acclaim for his activism in overcoming apartheid and fostering racial reconciliation, coming to be viewed as “a moral authority” with a great “concern for truth”.
Throughout his life, Mandela had also faced criticism. Margaret Thatcher attracted international attention for describing the ANC as “a typical terrorist organisation” in 1987,;she later called on Botha to release Mandela. Mandela has also been criticised for his friendship with political leaders such as Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Suharto as well as his refusal to condemn their various human rights violations.
Orders, decorations, and monuments
In 2004, Johannesburg granted Mandela the freedom of the city, and the Sandton Square shopping centre was renamed Nelson Mandela Square, after a Mandela statue was installed there. In 2008, another Mandela statue was unveiled at Groot Drakenstein Correctional Centre, formerly Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, standing on the spot where Mandela was released from the prison.
He has also received international acclaim. In 1993, he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with de Klerk. In November 2009, theUnited Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as “Mandela Day“, marking his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. It called on individuals to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Mandela had been a part of the movement.
Awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Order of Canada, he was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen. The last recipient of the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union, and first recipient of the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, in 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna Award from the government of India, and in 1992 received Pakistan’s Nishan-e-Pakistan. In 1992 he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused the award, citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time, but later accepted the award in 1999. Elizabeth II awarded him the Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John and the Order of Merit.
Tributes by musicians
Many artists have dedicated songs to Mandela. One of the most popular was from The Special AKA who recorded the song “Free Nelson Mandela” in 1983, which Elvis Costello also recorded and had a hit with. Stevie Wonder dedicated his 1985 Oscar for the song “I Just Called to Say I Love You” to Mandela, resulting in his music being banned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In 1985, Youssou N’Dour‘s album Nelson Mandela was the Senegalese artist’s first US release. Other artists who released songs or videos honouring Mandela includeJohnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela, Brenda Fassie, Beyond, Nickelback, Raffi, and Ampie du Preez and AB de Villiers.South African songstress Zahara, who happens to be an ambassador of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, released Nelson Mandela, an extended play that pays tribute to Mandela whilst celebrating his lifetime accomplishments. The EP’s lead single titled “Nelson Mandela” was released at a time when Mandela was critically ill but stable at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.
Cinema and television
Mandela has been depicted in cinema and television on multiple occasions. He was portrayed by Danny Glover in the 1987 HBO telefilmMandela. The 1997 film Mandela and de Klerk starred Sidney Poitier as Mandela, and Dennis Haysbert played him in Goodbye Bafana(2007). In the 2009 BBC telefilm Mrs Mandela, Mandela was portrayed by David Harewood, and Morgan Freeman portrayed him inInvictus (2009). Terrence Howard portrayed him in the 2011 film Winnie Mandela. He is portrayed by Idris Elba in the 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
African National Congress
The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa’s governing political party, supported by its Tripartite Alliancewith the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a “disciplined force of the left”. Members founded the organisation as theSouth African Native National Congress (SANNC) on 8 January 1912 at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein to increase the rights of the black South African population. John Dube, its first president, and poet and author Sol Plaatje were among its founding members. The organisation became the ANC in 1923 and formed a military wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in 1961.
It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa on the national level since 1994. It increased its majority in the 1999 elections, and further increased it in 2004, with 69.7% of the votes. In 2009 its share of the vote reduced slightly, but it remained the dominant party with 65.9% of the votes.
The founding of the SANNC was in direct response to injustice against black South Africans at the hands of the government then in power. It can be said that the SANNC had its origins in a pronouncement by Pixley ka Isaka Seme who said in 1911, “Forget all the past differences among Africans and unite in one national organisation.” The SANNC was founded the following year on 8 January 1912.
The government of the newly formed Union of South Africa began a systematic oppression of black people in South Africa. The Land Act was promulgated in 1913 forcing many non-whites from their farms into the cities and towns to work, and to restrict their movement within South Africa.
By 1919, the SANNC was leading a campaign against passes (an ID which non-whites had to posses). However, it then became dormant in the mid-1920s. During that time, black people were also represented by the ICU and the previously white-only Communist party. In 1923, the organisation became the African National Congress, and in 1929 the ANC supported a militant mineworkers’ strike.
By 1927, J.T. Gumede (president of the ANC) proposed co-operation with the Communists in a bid to revitalise the organisation, but he was voted out of power in the 1930s. This led to the ANC becoming largely ineffectual and inactive, until the mid-1940s when the ANC was remodelled as a mass movement.
The ANC responded militarily to attacks on the rights of black South Africans, as well as calling for strikes, boycotts, and defiance. This led to a later Defiance Campaign in the 1950s, a mass movement of resistance to apartheid. The government tried to stop the ANC by banning party leaders and enacting new laws to stop the ANC, however these measures ultimately proved to be ineffective.
In 1955, the Congress of the People officially adopted the Freedom Charter, stating the core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress and its allies the South African Communist Party (SACP), the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats (COD) and the Coloured People’s Congress. The government claimed that this was a communist document, and consequently leaders of the ANC and Congress were arrested. 1960 saw the Sharpeville massacre, in which 69 people were killed when police opened fire on anti-apartheid protesters.
Whites eventually joined the fight against apartheid, leading many Black nationalists to break away from the ANC.
During apartheid there was violence between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party. For example between 1985 and 1989, 5,000 civilians were killed in fighting between the two parties. Massacres by each of the other’s supporters included the Shell House massacre and the Boipatong massacre.
The ANC and its members were officially removed from the United States terrorism watch list in 2008.
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Umkhonto we Sizwe (or MK), translated “Spear of the Nation”, was the military wing of the ANC. Partly in response to the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, individual members of the ANC found it necessary to consider violence to combat what passive protest had failed to quell. There was a significant portion of the ANC who therefore turned to violence to achieve their goals. A significant portion of ANC leadership agreed that this violence was needed to combat increasing backlash from the government. Some ANC members were upset by the actions of the MK, and refused to accept violence as necessary for the ending of apartheid, but these individuals became a minority as the militant leaders such asNelson Mandela gained significant popularity. Many consider their actions to be criminal, but the MK deemed the means justified by the end goal of ending apartheid. The MK committed terrorist acts to achieve their aims, and MK was responsible for the deaths of both civilians and members of the military. Acts of terrorism committed by the MK include the Church Street bombing and the Magoo’s Bar bombing. In co-operation with the South African Communist Party, MK was founded in 1961.
The ANC deems itself a force of national liberation in the post-apartheid era; it officially defines its agenda as the National Democratic Revolution. The ANC is a member of theSocialist International. It also sets forth the redressing of socio-economic differences stemming from colonial- and apartheid-era policies as a central focus of ANC policy.
The National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is described as a process through which the National Democratic Society (NDS) is achieved; a society in which people are intellectually, socially, economically and politically empowered. The drivers of the NDR are also called the motive forces and are defined as the elements within society that gain from the success of the NDR. Using contour plots or concentric circles the centre represents the elements in society that gain the most out of the success of the NDR. Moving away from the centre results in the reduction of the gains that those elements derive. It is generally believed that the force that occupies the centre of those concentric circles in countries with low unemployment is the working class while in countries with higher levels of unemployment it is the unemployed. Some of the many theoreticians that have written about the NDR include Joe Slovo, Joel Netshitenzhe and Tshilidzi Marwala.
In 2004, the ANC declared itself to be a social democratic party.
The ANC holds a historic alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), known as the Tripartite Alliance. The SACP and COSATU have not contested any election in South Africa, but field candidates through the ANC, hold senior positions in the ANC, and influence party policy and dialogue. During Mbeki’s presidency, the government took a more pro-capitalist stance, often running counter to the demands of the SACP and COSATU.
Following Zuma’s accession to the ANC leadership in 2007 and Mbeki’s resignation as president in 2008, the Mbeki faction of former ministers led by Mosiuoa Lekota split away from the ANC to form the Congress of the People.
The ANC flag is composed of three stripes – black, green and gold. Black symbolises the native people of South Africa, green represents the land and gold represents the mineral and other natural wealth of South Africa. This flag was also the battle flag of the Umkhonto we Sizwe. The official party flag also has the emblem of the party incorporated onto the flag.
Politicians in the party win a place in parliament by being on the Party List, which is drawn up before the elections and enumerates, in order, the party’s preferred MPs. The number of seats allocated is proportional to the popular national vote, and this determines the cut-off point.
The ANC has also gained members through the controversial floor crossing process.
Although most South African parties announced their candidate list for provincial premierships in the 2009 election, the ANC did not, as it is not required for parties to do so.
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
252 / 400
266 / 400
279 / 400
264 / 400
|Senate / NCOP|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
60 / 90
63 / 90
65 / 90
62 / 90
Role of the ANC in resolving the conflict
The ANC represented the main opposition to the government during apartheid and therefore they played a major role in resolving the conflict through participating in the peacemaking and peace-building processes. Initially intelligence agents of the National Party met in secret with ANC leaders, including Nelson Mandela, to judge whether conflict resolution was possible. Discussions and negotiations took place leading to the eventual unbanning of the ANC and other opposing political parties by then President de Klerkon 2 February 1990. These initial meetings were the first crucial steps towards resolution.
The next official step towards rebuilding South Africa was the Groote Schuur Minute where the government and the ANC agreed on a common commitment towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation, as well as a commitment to stability and to a peaceful process of negotiations. The ANC negotiated the release of political prisoners and the indemnity from prosecution for returning exiles and moreover channels of communication were established between the Government and the ANC.
Later the Pretoria Minute represented another step towards resolution where agreements at Groote Schuur were reconsolidated and steps towards setting up an interim government and drafting a new constitution were established as well as suspension of the military wing of the ANC – the Umkhonto we Sizwe. This step helped end much of the violence within South Africa. Another agreement that came out of the Pretoria Minute was that both parties would try and raise awareness that a new way of governance was being created for South Africa, and that further violence would only hinder this process. However violence still continued in Kwazulu-Natal, which violated the trust between Mandela and de Klerk. Moreover, internal disputes in the ANC prolonged the war as consensus on peace was not reached.
The next significant steps towards resolution were the Repeal of the Population Registration Act, the repeal of the Group Areas and the Native Land Acts and a catch-all Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act was passed. These measures ensured no one could claim, or be deprived of, any land rights on the basis of race.
In December 1991 the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) was held with the aim of establishing an interim government. However a few months later in June 1992 the Boipatong massacre occurred and all negotiations crumbled as the ANC pulled out. After this negotiations proceeded between two agents, Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC, andRoelf Meyer of the National Party. In over 40 meetings the two men discussed and negotiated over many issues including the nature of the future political system, the fate of over 40,000 government employees and if/how the country would be divided. The result of these negotiations was an interim constitution that meant the transition from apartheid to democracy was a constitutional continuation and that the rule of law and state sovereignty remained intact during the transition, which was vital for stability within the country. A date was set for the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. The ANC won 62.5% of the votes and has been in power ever since.
|This section may be slanted towards recent events. Please try to keep recent events in historical perspective. (June 2013)|
Controversy over corrupt members
The most prominent corruption case involving the ANC relates to a series of bribes paid to companies involved in the ongoing R55 billion Arms Deal saga, which resulted in a long term jail sentence to former Deputy President Jacob Zuma‘s legal adviser Schabir Shaik. Schabir Shaik was released after about two years on the basis that he was terminally ill. Zuma, now the State president, was charged with fraud, bribery and corruption in the Arms Deal, but the charges were subsequently withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa due to their delay in prosecution. The ANC has also been criticised for its subsequent abolition of the Scorpions, the multidisciplinary agency that investigated and prosecuted organised crime and corruption, and was heavily involved in the investigation into Zuma and Shaik.
Tony Yengeni, in his then position as chief whip of the ANC and also head of the Parliaments defence committee has recently been named as being involved in a R6 million bribe with the German company ThyssenKrupp over the purchase of four corvettes for the SANDF. German detectives raided the offices of the German company and found documentation linking Yengeni to the bribe
Other recent corruption issues include the sexual misconduct and criminal charges of Beaufort West municipal manager Truman Prince, and the Oilgate scandal, in which millions of Rand in funds from a state-owned company were allegedly funnelled into ANC coffers.
The ANC has also been accused of using government and civil society to fight its political battles against opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance. The result has been a number of complaints and allegations that none of the political parties truly represent the interests of the poor. This has resulted in the “No Land! No House! No Vote!” Campaign which becomes very prominent each time the country holds elections.
Controversy over wasteful expenditure
The ANC spent over R1 billion of taxpayers’ money on luxury vehicles, expensive hotels, banquets, advertising and other “wasteful expenditure” between August 2009 and April 2010. The main thrust behind this reporting is the official opposition in the country, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which kept a tally of the expenditure called “The Wasteful Expenditure Monitor”.
According to the DA, this money could have:
- Built 18,574 new RDP houses
- Funded 7775 teachers for a year
Condemnation over Secrecy Bill
In late 2011 the ANC was heavily criticised over the passage of the Protection of State Information Bill, which opponents claimed would improperly restrict the freedom of the press. Opposition to the bill included otherwise ANC-aligned groups such as COSATU. Notably, Nelson Mandela and other Nobel laureates Nadine Gordimer, ArchbishopDesmond Tutu, and F. W. de Klerk have expressed disappointment with the bill for not meeting standards of constitutionality and aspirations for freedom of information and expression.
Role in the Marikana Massacre
The ANC have been criticised for its role in failing to prevent the 16 August 2012 massacre of Lonmin miners at Marikana in the North West. Some allege that Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, a close confidant of Jacob Zuma, may have given the go ahead for the police action against the miners on that day.
Commissioner Phiyega of the ANC came under further criticism as being insensitive and uncaring when she was caught smiling and laughing during the Farlam Commission’s video playback of the ‘massacre’. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has announced that he no longer can bring himself to exercise a vote for the ANC as it is no longer the party that he and Nelson Mandela fought for, and that the party has now lost its way, and is in danger of becoming a corrupt entity in power.