Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Mandela dedicated his life to the struggle to end racial segregation and white minority rule under the apartheid system in South Africa. His contribution to the political education, mobilization, and organization of millions of people against the apartheid system has been unparalleled. In the 1990’s the South African government moved to abolish apartheid, and Mandela was elected president in 1994.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, in a village called Mvezo on July 18, 1918. Although born of royal parentage, Mandela was reared in the traditional African setting among the Thembu. In addition to his mother, who was very strong-willed and dignified, Mandela’s father had three other wives. Along with his peers, Mandela was inculcated with a tremendous sense of responsibility to his family and community, reflected in some of his childhood duties such as ploughing land, herding cattle, and tending sheep.
An important element that contributed to the political consciousness of Mandela during his youth was his listening to the elders of his village discuss the history of their people. Mandela learned of the noble traditions of his people before the European colonial invasion and the gallant struggles of resistance to European colonial rule. Mandela’s insatiable thirst for knowledge was partially satisfied when he attended mission school as a child and then...
(The entire section is 2406 words.)
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