I decided to do my project on Nelson Mandela because Nelson Mandela fought for equal rights for the sake of the black citizens of South Africa for many years.
I decided to write about his childhood, his imprisonment, after his release, what his attitude was towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his death.
Who is Nelson Mandela?
Nelson Mandela's full name was Rolis'ls'lh Nelson (Rolihlahla) Mandela. He was a South African statesman, a leader of the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in South Africa. His African name Rolihlahla means troublemaker. His teacher gave him the famous English nickname Nelson on his first day at school.
In 1952, Nelson Mandela was the head of volunteers who were against the apartheid regime. He traveled around South Africa and organized protests against segregation laws that discriminated against blacks who were the majority in the country. He was put on trial because he organized protests. He was not allowed to travel to Johannesburg for six months.
Mandela started the first firm owned by black lawyers in South Africa together with his friend.
On December 5, 1956, Mandela and 155 other activists were arrested and went on trial for treason.
In 1960, Mandela was arrested because he took part in protests of violence and terrorist acts. He was in prison until 1961.
In 1961, Mandela went underground and the newspapers called him the "Black Pimpernel".
This was because of his appearances in public and because the police couldn't catch him.
In 1962, Mandela left South Africa for military training in Algeria. When he went back to South Africa, he was arrested and put on trial because he left the country illegally and because he incited people to strike. He was accused of encouraging people to do acts of terrorism. He was also accused of making bombs for terrorist purposes. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
Mandela made his own defense at his trial. In his speeches, he said that he was ready to die in order to achieve his goal of equal rights for black people.
In 1964, he was accused of terrorist activities and of going against the government and he was sentenced to life in prison.
Mandela was in different prisons in South Africa for 27 years.
Nelson Mandela's Years behind Bars
Nelson Mandela spent the first 18 of his 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben Island Prison, which used to be a leper colony near the coast of Cape Town. He was put in a small cell without a bed or plumbing and he had to do hard work in a lime quarry.
He was only allowed to see his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela once every six months. He had married her in 1958 and she was the mother of his two young daughters.
After His Release from Prison
Because of Mandela and de Klerk of South Africa, the racial segregation regime stopped and the first real democratic elections took place in 1994, when black citizens were allowed to vote for the first time.
Because of this action, Mandela and de Klerk won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
When he became the first black president in South Africa in 1994, Mandela established a commission to investigate human rights from 1960 until 1994.
In 1996, Mandela started a new South African strong central government which was based on majority rule and did not allow discrimination against minorities, including whites.
He fought to improve race relations, discouraging blacks from going against the white minority and building a new international image of a united South Africa.
In July 2004, he flew to Bangkok to speak at the International AIDS Conference. In January 2005, Mandela announced that his son died of AIDS.
Attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Mandela said that he "understands why Israel occupied these lands. There was a war".
People believed that Arafat wanted peace with Israel and considered him a heroic figure.
On the other hand, Mandela told Menachem Begin that his book "Revolt" inspired him and he described David Ben-Gurion as a great leader.
In June 2004 when he was 85 years old, Mandela left public life. He wasn't healthy and he said that he wanted to enjoy his time with his family.
During 2013, Mandela was put into the hospital many times because of problems with his lungs.
On December 5, 2013, he died in his home. There was a memorial service and many leaders from many countries, including US President Barack Obama came.
In this project, I learned that every human being has natural rights and that there should be no discrimination among people even if they have different opinions.
Before I did this project, I did not know that Nelson Mandela was in prison.
While doing this project, I learned to read different sources and put them together. I took out the things that I didn't need and put into the project only what I needed.
Mandela was a symbol of the black liberation struggle in South Africa.
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