Nelson Mandela and the Fight Against Apartheid

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Perseverance and Integrity in the Face of Trials and Tribulations: Nelson Mandela’s Role in the Realization of Racial Equality and Freedom in South Africa

Table of Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………..2 Chaos and Dissension in South Africa…………………………………………...3 Mandela – The Charismatic Leader……………………………………………….5 Iconic Image of Integrity and Perseverance………...…………………….………6 Uniting the African National Congress……………..………………………....….9 Mandela Takes Reconciliatory Action…………….………………………….….11 Mandela’s Unique Advantage ……………………..……………………….……13 Conclusion……………………………….…………..……………………………15 Bibliography……………………………….…………..………………………….16

Introduction
The iconic figure of Nelson Mandela stands today as a perpetual symbol of perseverance in the long battle to dismantle apartheid. It was a battle for which he was “prepared to die for,” a struggle against not only white domination but also black domination.[1] However, as the apartheid era drew to a close, Mandela’s crusade for a democratic “rainbow nation”[2] looked despairingly unattainable as South Africa came perilously close to descending into utter chaos. Nevertheless, Mandela, long time anti-apartheid activist and leader in the African National Congress (ANC), continued the struggle for his dream of a multicultural nation. Some have expressed the opinion that though the African National Congress was without a doubt instrumental in the peaceful and democratic revolution ending apartheid, Mandela himself was merely a figurehead for the ANC in their 1994 election win and in reality it was the many other leading senior executives that guided the ANC to victory. More prominent is the belief that the destruction of the outdated and inhumane apartheid system was long overdue. Mandela, as leader of the ANC, merely the beneficiary of this mass change in attitude that ultimately resulted in the election of the ANC in 1994.[3] Although Mandela undoubtedly had a strong complement of colleagues such as Chris Hani and Oliver Tambo among many others that helped the ANC accomplish racial equity and unity, Mandela was by no means simply a figurehead. His image of long standing integrity to his core values in conjunction with his determined and charismatic leadership were instrumental in unifying the ANC, ultimately leading it to a landslide victory following South Africa’s first election with universal suffrage in 1994. The unwavering commitment of not only himself but the other ANC executives to reconciliation and racial equity even following their arduous imprisonment were imperative to the ANC’s selection ahead of other African parties such as the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). Mandela’s determined, charismatic leadership throughout the often rocky negotiations for the end of apartheid buoyed the integrity of the party’s commitment to its long standing core values and his larger than life image gave hope to those who wished for a free and united South Africa, culminating in its first election with universal suffrage in 1994 won by the ANC.

Chaos and Dissension in South Africa
The state of affairs in South Africa at the time of Nelson Mandela’s release on February 11th, 1990 were exceptionally bleak, with age-old tension between the races and newfound strain in the negotiations making the prospects of a peaceful transition from apartheid improbable.[4] The dissension that was later seen to emerge within ANC was very much reflective of the existing diversity of opinions amongst the people of South Africa. Some were very conservative, and content to wait and allow the negotiations to play out. Others, on the other hand, were very radical and felt that with the National government not conceding the right of racial equality; their freedom must be won with blood.[5] Numerous people in the white community were making preparations to flee the country out of fear for racial retribution from the...
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