News / Africa

Remembering Nelson Mandela

Remembering Nelson Mandelai
X
December 05, 2013 11:47 PM
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 after a long illness. People around the world are mourning the loss of the country's first black president. VOA's Deborah Block has more.

Related Articles

Deborah Block
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. People around the world are mourning the loss of the country's first black president.   

To many, Mandela was a hero, a man of courage, conviction and vision.  He was often called humble, charming, loyal and a man who cared about others.

"He seemed to have that special charismatic approach," said Herman Cohen, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa from 1989 to 1993. "He became the symbol in the fight against apartheid."

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918.  As a young man he became active in the anti-apartheid movement and joined the African National Congress, or ANC, in the 1940s.

Nelson Mandela

  • 1918 - Born in Transkei, South Africa
  • 1944 - Joined African National Congress
  • 1956 - Charged with treason, later acquitted
  • 1962 - Convicted of sabotage and sentenced to 5 years
  • 1964 - Sentenced to life in prison for plotting to overthrow the government
  • 1990 - Released from prison
  • 1991 - Elected president of ANC
  • 1993 - Won Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994 - Elected president of South Africa
  • 1999 - Decided not to seek a second term as president
  • 2004 - Retired from public life
  • 2007 - Formed The Elders group
  • 2011 - Briefly hospitalized for a chest infection
  • 2012 - Hospitalized again,this time for gallstones
  • 2013 - Treated for a recurring lung infection, dies on Dec. 5
The white-led government banned the ANC in 1960, but the group continued to operate secretly.  Mandela became head of the group's new military wing, coordinating a sabotage campaign against South African military and government targets.
 
In 1962, he was arrested and put on trial for his actions and sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town.  He spent 18 years there, refusing a government offer to release him if he would renounce the ANC's armed struggle.  But he was freed in 1990 after South African President Frederik de Klerk legalized all political parties and discharged most political prisoners.  

Shortly after his release, Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress.  And in 1994, when the ANC won South Africa's first all-race elections, he was inaugurated as the county's first black president at age 75.  

"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another," he said.  

President Mandela said he would stay for only one five-year term.  Cohen says Mandela earned international respect for South Africa's national reconciliation.

"Mandela devoted himself mainly to rallying the Africans to this new era to work on economic development, having good education, also he was very much of a spokesman on the international scene." he said.

  • Nelson Mandela smiles for photographers at his home in Johannesburg September 22, 2005.
  • Nelson Mandela and his then wife, Winnie, salute well-wishers as he leaves Victor Verster prison on Feb. 11, 1990.
  • This undated photograph shows Nelson Mandela and his former wife, Winnie.
  • South African State President Frederik Willem de Klerk and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela prior to talks, Cape Town, May 2, 1990.
  • Nelson Mandela, is seen as he gives the black power salute to 120,000 ANC supporters in Soweto's Soccer City stadium, Feb. 13, 1990.
  • Then-African National Congress President Nelson Mandela salutes the crowd in Galeshewe Stadium near Kimberley, South Africa, Feb. 25, 1994.
  • Nelson Mandela and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ride in a carriage outside Buckingham Palace on the first day of a state visit to Britain, July 9, 1996.
  • President Nelson Mandela and Britain's Prince Charles shake hands alongside members of the Spice Girls, Nov. 1, 1997.
  • Former U.S President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela speak during a Gala night in Westminster Hall, London, July 2, 2003.
  • Oscar winning South African actress Charlize Theron weeps at her meeting with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, March 11,2004.
  • Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, wave to the audience during a Live 8 concert in Johannesburg, July 2, 2005.
  • Nelson Mandela jokes with youngsters as they celebrate his 89th birthday at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg, July 24, 2007.
  • Former South African president Nelson Mandela, center, followed by his grandson Mandla Mandela, rear right, arrives at the ceremony in Mvezo, South Africa, April 16, 2007.
  • Nelson Mandela waves to the media as he arrives outside 10 Downing Street, London, August 28, 2007.
  • Nelson Mandela waves as he arrives to attend the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
  • Nelson Mandela poses for a photograph after receiving a torch to celebrate the African National Congress' centenary in his home village Qunu, May 30, 2012.

In 1993, Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with his once bitter enemy de Klerk for their contribution to the peace process in South Africa.  After receiving the award, Mandela praised the South African people.

"All have created a society which recognizes that all people are born equal," he said.

During his presidency, Mandela was criticized for not confronting South Africa's AIDS epidemic. However, in his later years, he became a public advocate in the fight against AIDS.

"Together we can fight AIDS and ensure a more secure future for everyone," he said.

He also continued his work as an advocate for children’s rights.

In a country torn apart by years of racial conflict, Nelson Mandela is considered a remarkable leader - a man who turned South Africa away from violence and hatred into a country of greater peace and understanding.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Behira from: Nigeria
December 06, 2013 12:35 AM
Nelson Mandela was a hero. Although he's gone, he will continue to live on in the hearts of many people. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.....Amen


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 05, 2013 9:27 PM
Thank you VOA for a brief biography of Mandela. I could learn about him and mourn the loss of the treasure of all people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid