35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela

Trista - April 7, 2019

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
The whole world celebrated his release in 1990. Liverpool Echo.co.uk.

7. Mandela Was Released From Prison

With the legalization of the ANC, Mandela was released from prison in 1990. He had served a total of 27 years and was now 70 years old. Media outlets from all over the world broadcast footage of his release, with him holding Winnie’s hand as they stood in front of large crowds of people and were driven throughout the city of Cape Town. He gave a speech about the ongoing cause of the ANC in ending apartheid.

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
President George W. Bush and former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa met in the Oval Office Tuesday on May 17, 2005. Eric Draper, White House Photographer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

6. Mandela Was Nearly Blind Because of His Time on Robben Island

Nelson Mandela had been forced for years to split rocks that reflected the sunlight so strongly that it severely damaged his eyes. He developed what is commonly referred to as “snow blindness” and frequently wore sunglasses because of how much light hurt his eyes.

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
Luthuli House in Johannesburg, which became the ANC headquarters in 1991. Garyvdm / Wikimedia.

5. Mandela Became Head of the ANC

While in prison, Mandela had learned to speak Afrikaans, the language of whites in South Africa, and had studied history and law. When he became the head of the ANC, he made it a multiracial institution and engineered a ceasefire, known as the Pretoria Minute, for the violence with which the ANC was engaging. He wanted to transform the party into something that could be a viable force in post-apartheid politics.

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s last apartheid President, Frederik de Klerk, display their Nobel Peace Prizes in Oslo, Norway, in December 1993. AFP / Gerard Julien / ABC.net.au.

4. Nelson Mandela Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993

Few people expected that apartheid in South Africa would fall, but when it did, many credited Nelson Mandela. As the leader of the ANC, he continued to work to secure black rights in South Africa and end the violence on both sides of the apartheid lines by encouraging reconciliation. For his efforts, in 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1993. White House Photograph Office, Clinton Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

3. In 1994, Mandela Was Elected President

In 1994, apartheid in South Africa officially ended when, for the first time in over 300 years, black South Africans were allowed to participate in their government. When the first-ever democratic elections were held, the ANC became the dominant party in the new parliament. Nelson Mandela was elected president, and he won with a landslide victory . He was 75 years old.

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela saluting in front of the flag. Wild Earth.

2. Mandela Helped Mediate the Civil War in Burundi

The entire continent of Africa has faced immense challenges resulting from colonization and the transition to national governments within newly-formed states. Burundi had been engaged in an ethnic conflict since 1993; wanting South Africa to be a model for the rest of the continent, he helped broker a peace settlement between the warring Hutus and Tutsis.

35 Powerful Facts About Worldwide Peacemaker, Nelson Mandela
Flowers left at the Nelson Mandela’s statue in London’s Parliament Square. John Pannell – Flickr: Nelson Mandela tributes in Parliament Square / Wikimedia Commons.

1. He Worked for Human Rights Across Africa

Today, Nelson Mandela is more than a hero for South Africans. He represents an entire movement of peacebuilding and reconciliation for African countries struggling to find their way in a postcolonial war. Mandela used soft diplomacy to address human rights violations by military juntas and tried to mediate an agreement to end the ongoing conflict in the Congo. Though much remains to be done, he set an example that the rest of the continent, and the world, should follow.

 

Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are our Sources:

“Nelson Mandela.” Wikipedia.

“African National Congress.” Wikipedia.

“South Africa.” Wikipedia.

“Nelson Mandela – Civil Rights Activist & President Of South Africa” (documentary). Biography.com.

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