History's HEROES? Dated July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela

Created by

May N


South Africa
It was his place of birth, the country he grew up in, and the country he eventually ran.


  • He played a key role in helping to end apartheid in South Africa
  • He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with F. W. de Klerk
  • He was elected president of South Africa (from 1994 to 1999)
  • The United Nations declared July 18 'Nelson Mandela International Day'


  • Brave / Courageous
  • A good and strong leader
  • Altruistic (puts other first e.g. risks or gives life for others)
  • Visionary (has far reaching ideas)
  • Good or moral (strong beliefs or principles)
  • Has integrity (stands up for what they believe and act accordingly)
  • Inspiring / Charismatic
  • Determined
  • Wise
  • Honest
  • Kind and compassionate
  • Just and fair minded


"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." - "Speech from the Dock," April 20, 1964

The first black president of South Africa

Mandela was an advocate for human rights. He was also a big part of the antiapartheid movement in South Africa and when he was elected president, he formed a multiracial government.

Rolihlahla Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa. He was first inspired to fight for the freedom of his people by the elders' stories of the part his ancestors played in the wars of resistance. In 1944 he joined the African National Congress, assisting in the formation of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). The National Party was elected in 1948, bringing with it apartheid (racial classification and segregation) his commitment to politics grew stronger. He began protesting in earnest, something that lead to being put on trial for treason on December 5, 1956. He and the 155 other accused activists were acquitted in 1961. Following this, Mandela decided that peaceful protest was not enough, and went with a decidedly more radical approach. He co-founded an armed branch of the ANC, called the Umkhonto we Sizwe ('Spear of the Nation'), or MK. 'It would be wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue preaching peace and nonviolence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle,'(statement from the Rivonia Trial). His armed resistance put him in jail for three decades, though it was supposed to be life imprisonment, and he was almost put to the gallows instead. He also turned down more than one offer of release, for the reason that they were conditional. In 1989, F. W. de Klerk was elected president, calling for non racism in South Africa. He demanded Mandela's release from prison the following year, in February 11. They both won the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1993 for their continued battle against apartheid, negotiating with the National Party in a series of talks. Finally, in the first multiracial elections of South Africa (1994), he was elected president. He built up a multiethnic 'Government of National Unity', where the black people of South Africa would have a voice, but the minority whites wouldn't be oppressed either. Essentially he equalized things, putting both black and white people to working side by side, neither having dominion over the other. He also worked on improving his country's living standards both socially and economically. After his first term of presidency, he retired from politics, though he was still very much active, starting the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and The Elders. He also spoke out about AIDS, raising awareness about the disease. He died December 5, 2013.

Life in Nelson Mandela's world

Mandela lived in a place where there was a white minority rule and black citizens were denied basic rights. With the apartheid, life was segregated, much like in the United States under the Jim Crow laws. This was, however, worse, in the sense that it was a dominion of white people in a black country.

Was Nelson Mandela a Hero?

  • He fought for justice and equality
  • Even though he was thrown into prison for his actions, he did not give up
  • He worked for harmony between the different races of his country

Things you might not know about Nelson Mandela

Because it was the custom to give 'Christian' names to students, he was given the name Nelson by his primary school teacher.
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