By- Angela Padrón
July 18th is known as “Nelson Mandela Day” in memory of the South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela. He was known for helping to bring an end to apartheid and worked as an advocate for human rights around the world. On Nelson Mandela Day, people are encouraged to take action to make a difference in the lives of others.
Here are twelve interesting facts about Nelson Mandela:
#1- Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 as part of the Thembu tribe in the South African village of Mvezo. Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.
#2- Many South Africans called Mandela “Madiba,” which was his Xhosa clan name. This was done as a sign of respect.
#3- Mandela was the first person in his family to receive a formal education.
#4- Mandela left his hometown after his guardian had arranged a marriage for him. He later met his first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase, with whom he had four children. In 1958, Mandela remarried Winnie Madikizela and they had two daughters. At the age of 80, Mandela again remarried, this time to politician and humanitarian Graça Machel.
#5- In 1952, Mandela opened South Africa’s first black law firm and offered free or low-cost legal counsel to people affected by apartheid legislation.
#6- Mandela participated and led boycotts, strikes, civil disobedience, and other nonviolent methods to end unjust racial laws. Later, when police opened fired on peaceful black protesters and killed sixty-nine people, Mandela decided to change his tactics to an armed resistance.
#7- On August 5, 1962, Mandela was arrested for illegally leaving the country and inciting a worker’s strike. Later, he was charged with sabotage, treason, and violent conspiracy.
#8- In lieu of being executed, Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life in prison.
#9- For more than half of his jailed time, Mandela was confined to a small cell. He did not have a bed or plumbing, and he only received small rations of food. He had to do hard labor in a lime quarry.
#10- While in jail, Mandela earned a bachelor of law degree from the University of London. He also managed to smuggle out political statements and wrote a draft of his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” which was published five years after his February 11, 1990 release from prison.
#11- Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1993.
#12- In 1994, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa and formed a multiethnic government. After his presidency ended, he advocated for peace and social justice in South Africa and around the world.
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