How Did Nelson Mandela Aid the Downfall of Apartheid

Topics: Nelson Mandela, South Africa, African National Congress Pages: 7 (2265 words) Published: September 7, 2012
How did Nelson Mandela aid the downfall of Apartheid?

Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 in South Africa to a Thembu chief. Thirty years later he would start one of the most famous movements of our time, the anti-apartheid movement. Apartheid was an official policy of forced segregation of the races and was implemented in 1948 by the National Party when it came to power in South Africa. Under apartheid, all black citizens were forced to carry passbooks stating all of their information. Two laws, which were at the heart of apartheid, included the Population Registration Act, which labeled everyone in South Africa by race, and the Group Areas Act, which forced racial groups to live in different places. In a nutshell it was the white run government trying to separate everything between the black South African’s and the white South African’s. Both laws were put into place to establish apartheid, which literally means “apartness”, the separation of the races. At that time 80% of the South African population was not white and barred from voting in elections. The head of this crazy idea was Prime Minister Daniel Malan, who was head of the National Party. He took racism and oppression to new heights, but Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to bringing it back down again. This essay seeks to tell the story of how it happened.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on the 18th of July 1918, in the small village of Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa. At the time of Nelson’s birth, his father was reigning Mvezo chief, named Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, and his wife, Nosekeni Fanny was a Methodist. His Father named him ‘Rolihlaha’, which means "pulling the branch of the tree", or in other words, “troublemaker”. It wasn’t until “Rolihlaha” began attending school that he would gain the nickname Nelson, given to him by his English teacher. Nelson’s surname comes from his grandfather, Mandela, the ‘illegitimate’ son of the King of the Thembu tribe. Mandela was born to a woman from another tribe, making him ineligible for his Father’s title, which of course meant that Henry and Nelson were not born as royalty. To make matters worse for Nelson’s possible dreams of ‘inheritance’, he was not even eligible for his father’s former position as chief, as Henry was deprived from his leading role after alienating colonial authorities. Perhaps this ‘injustice’ is what subconsciously spurred Nelson Mandela on to becoming the first Black president of South Africa.

Later when Nelson was studying for his Bachelor Degree in Arts at the Fort Harte University, he became involved in a boycott initiated by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) against the universities Bantu influenced policies. After which Nelson was told to leave Fort Hare, and discontinue his studies with them, though Nelson prevailed and moved to Johannesburg to complete his Bachelor in Arts. Following this Nelson went on to study Law at the University of Witwatersand. It is important to add that his pursuit of a degree in Law did not go unhindered; as this was the time when he became involved with the African Nationalist Congress (ANC) in 1994, in which he went on to become the youth president in the same year, and hold other ANC leadership positions later on, through which he helped revitalize the organization and oppose the Apartheid policies of the ruling National Party. The ANC was a left-wing Black-nationalist political party, which gained prominence through its unending protest of the adoption of the Apartheid system by the Afrikaner Nationalist Party in 1948. The Nationalist Party was a white-dominated South African political party, founded in 1914, which ruled the country from 1948 to 1994. It’s following included most of the Dutch-descended Afrikaners and many English-speaking whites, whose ancestry stems from the Dutch Indian and English colonial settlers.

Apartheid, which is ‘Afrikaans’ for “Separateness”, was a policy that governed relations between South Africa's white...
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