Nelson Mandela Speech Against Apartheid Makes History

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This Day In History (June 22, 1990):
Mr. Nelson Mandela stood before the United Nations & gave a speech to the special committee against Apartheid after 27 years of imprisonment.

Who was Mr. Nelson Mandela?
? Mr. Nelson Mandela was a civil rights activist, politician & lawyer in South Africa.
? Born in 1918, his birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela.
? The name ‘Nelson’ was given by his school teacher & the name stuck thereafter.
? He was instrumental in seeking equal rights for black people & fighting against racial discrimination (Apartheid).
? He was nicknamed, ‘The Black Pimpernel’ because of his clever & evasive tactics to elude authorities.
? He was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1993 jointly with the man who released him from prison – President Frederik Willem de Klerk.
? Mr. Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black president of South Africa from 1994-1999.
? He founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 1999, which till today stands to  ‘promote his lifelong vision of freedom and equality for all’.

What was Apartheid?
??‍♀️ In 1948, the government of South Africa introduced a system of laws & rules that forced black & white South Africans to live separately causing racial prejudice. This system was called ‘Apartheid’ meaning ‘apartness’.
?? After years of negotiations, Apartheid finally ended under the presidency of F.W. de Klerk which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president.

Why was Mr. Nelson Mandela arrested?

  • In 1994, Mandela & his 2 colleagues joined the ANC (African National Congress) Youth League.
  • The ANC wanted non-white Africans to also have the right to vote.
  • Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Mandela rallied against the government with peaceful protests & strikes to challenge the laws of Apartheid.
  • Along with other groups fighting for the same case, the ANC formed the Congress Alliance & wrote the Freedom Charter.
  • Mandela was arrested for the first time in 1956 & released in 1961 as the prosecution were unable to prove the defendants wanted to use violence.
  • The ANC continued with their fight for freedom.
  • The authorities wanted to put an end to this & arrested Mandela again in 1963.
  • He spent 27 years in prison (from 1963-1990) split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison & Victor Verster Prison.
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Image Credit: Library and Archives Canada/K-0000047

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