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Nelson Mendela

By JoannaHus1 May 07, 2013 1643 Words
Throughout history South Africa has dealt with many problems. One problem that has made a big impact was the apartheid. Apartheid can be associated with apartness but according to encyclopedia apartheid is, “system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991-92.” Many had to deal with segregation the hard way. Blacks were treated the worst way that anyone can possibly think of. However, in history there is always that one person to make a difference. In this case it was Nelson Mandela. A man who became irritated with the way blacks were being treated and took a stand for what he believed in. Nelson Mandela is one of the most courageous human beings in history to make a difference. (Encyclopedia) Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, the Transkei, South Africa. In 1920, the family moves to Qunu Village and in 1926 he starts elementary school where the name Nelson was given to him by his teacher. In 1927, his father died and then at that time he moves “to royal court of Thembu Chief Jonintaba Daliendyebo at Mqhekezweni”. As years went by he continued his education until November of 1940 where he is forced to leave University College of Forte Hare because of a student protest. As the years went on so did his success. (Limb p. 13) In 1948 to 1993 the Apartheid of South Africans began. The way that the blacks were treated during this time is the worst way that anyone could ever be treated. They were forced to live in unsanitary areas, places that were unhealthy. Blacks were restricted in the jobs that they were allowed to perform, facilities they could use, as well as the places that they were able to go to and one major and really racial thing that they had to do was carry some sort of identification. If there was an African American who didn’t have identification at that time that it was asked for then the person was in jeopardy of getting arrested. This was known as the Pass Laws, “forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police. It was a criminal offence to be unable to produce a pass when required to do so by the police. Through these rough times, Nelson Mandela was the only one that voiced his opinion about being against the Apartheid. (Rees) Nelson Mandela helped the South African people through these times. Basically, he stopped racism, apartheid, separation and any other issues that existed between blacks and whites. In 1960, 69 black people were shot dead by the police in the Shapeville massacre. This pushed Mandela into speaking up and trying to make a change. In 1962, he was “convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison.” The reason for him going to jail was that after the Shapeville’s Massacre Nelson went underground and launched a sabotage campaign. He got arrested for trying to overthrow the government and traveling between countries without a passport. He spent the next 27 years in jail. The jail was located on Robben Island. He was away from family and friends so he had very little way of communication with the people that love him. In prison he was considered to be a leader amongst other prisoners just like him. He told them to never give up their dignity. He helped them fight for better food and better treatment in the cells. After a certain time in jail he was offered a proposition that he could be freed earlier from jail if he promised to stop the violence he is causing which is the fight against the apartheid. He denied that offer and continued to be in jail and fight for the rights of South Africans. (BBC; Thinkquest) Nelson Mandela through the whole time that he was imprisoned, “he never lost his dignity or his courage.” He always believed that no matter what skin color you are everyone should have equal rights. While in jail he continued to practice law even though he was banned which means that any person cannot be quoted or published in a newspaper or on television. No matter how hard it was for him in jail he did not stop going to his law office. The only downfall with that is that he had to go at night. He became the symbol of what a South African can become. The South African government began to realize that Mandela will continue to fight until he gets his way. They knew that they had no choice and needed to make a change. The fight for equality from Mandela and other South Africans cannot be ignored. In February 1990, Mandela was finally freed. People of both races came out to celebrate his freedom. Through the whole thing Nelson Mandela stayed anti-apartheid and what was even more of a success is that a man like him was elected president of South Africa. (Foster 87) Throughout this whole event there were advantages and disadvantages. There are almost no advantages of the apartheid happening but it being abolished is another story. Some advantages after the apartheid was abolished are that the South Africans are now treated just like the whites and there are no racial comments or looks and anything to make the South Africans feel like they aren’t worth anything. The blacks are now free to work where ever they please, to use any facility they want to and not be questioned about going anywhere or being questioned about who they are. Another advantage in getting rid of the apartheid is that Nelson Mandela has been given the chance to be a man with a changed life. Without him none of this would have happened. Who knows if maybe today things would be like they were before the apartheid was eliminated? Nelson Mandela’s strong opinion and dignity made South Africa what it is today. Some other advantages include fewer crimes, more race conformity between each other and more use of natural resources. Other advantages include mostly the economy. The economy during the apartheid was considered to be wealthy. The reason for that is that even though more than half of the population in South Africa was blacks, they weren’t considered to be “citizens”. This means that they were excluded from the government’s economic stats. This allowed South Africa to be very wealthy before 1994. Most of the wealth came from diamonds, gold, silver, mainly the mine workers work. After the apartheid, the blacks were finally considered citizens and counted apart of the census. Therefore, that could be considered as a disadvantage. The economy then was starting to look like a normal economy with problems just like other countries had. Unlike the advantages, the apartheid had many disadvantages. These disadvantages included the mistreatment of blacks against whites. In South Africa the blacks were basically in charge by the whites. They weren’t allowed to live freely and without being brutally abused in jail by policeman or walk around without being afraid of getting asked about identification. The advantages and disadvantages about the apartheid and post-apartheid all revolve mainly around the concept of economy. Basically, during the apartheid the economy was good because the blacks weren’t being counted as someone who lives there and post-apartheid, the economy worsens because the blacks have finally been recognized and they now have a count. By bringing an end to the apartheid by Nelson Mandela, he has made a huge impact on the lives of his fellow Africans, and other blacks. They can now have a normal life and succeed to the best of their ability. In conclusion, the apartheid has been fought for a very long time. Today it will always play an important part in South Africa. Its events like this that is never forgotten, they are only remembered and appreciated for the things that occurred, good or bad. To my knowledge, Nelson Mandela is such an inspirational human being that many should look back, remember him and follow in his footsteps. While researching on him I have come across quotes from him that are very remembering and motivational to anyone. Mandela once said, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” This quote means so much in such little words. To succeed you put others first and fight for them from the back. That is exactly what he did. He put his people first and fought for them and then thought of it as fighting for himself. Nelson Mandela is not only someone who fights for himself and his race but someone who fights for everyone. His dedication to freedom and democracy is something I strongly believe should be applied to the whole world and every leader out there. Don’t fight for just yourself but fight for everyone out there that you are responsible for. His great work has been acknowledged by the world by receiving “more than 695 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the US Congressional Medal. He also has scores of honorary degrees, honorary citizenships and honorary memberships of organizations. Many streets and buildings have been named after Mr. Mandela.” Throughout his whole life he has shown many outstanding qualities that I personally admire. Mandela is someone who serves as an example for anyone who is trying to fight for something or someone. Nelson Mandela is one of those historic figures that should never be forgotten no matter how far into the future we may be. (Nelson Mandela Foundation)

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