Imagine yourself growing up in a country where you might get thrown in jail for drinking from the wrong water fountain; where just because of your skin color, you get paid less money than your neighbor who has the same job; where you can’t even walk on the same sidewalk just because of the pigment in your skin. For Nelson Mandela, this situation was a reality. This style of living began in 1948 and, thanks to Mandela, ended in 1994. Problems began when the National Party---dominated by Afrikaans-speaking descendants of the Dutch settlers—came to power in South Africa. Segregation and mistreatment of the less superior—non-whites--became a government policy called “apartheid,” which means “apartness” in the Afrikaans language. Nelson Mandela refused to bow down to the unjust of the government. Instead, he became one of the most important warriors in the battle to free South Africa.
“We are at the beginning of an arduous and protracted struggle for a better quality of life. In the course of this struggle, we shall have immediate success; we shall have setbacks; but we shall certainly progress, inch by inch, towards our goal,” Nelson Mandela wrote in his book, In His Own Words. Most of Mandela’s life was filled with many battles, tribulations, and hardships. Born on July 18th, 1918 in Umtata, South Africa, Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela studied to become a lawyer. He then joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944. The ANC formed in 1912. It is a multiracial, nationalist organization that intended to extend voting rights to everyone in South Africa. This organization was also aiming to end racial discrimination. Even after thirty years of peaceful petitions to the government, the ANC never achieved any concessions. During the apartheid, blacks and whites had different laws that they were to follow. Blacks were not allowed to vote in parliamentary areas, for example, and they were limited in their use of most public places and institutions. Under...
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