Nelson Mandela was a great man who changed the world by fighting for freedom and equality in South Africa. From 1948 to 1991 apartheid took place in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was unjustly jailed fighting for the rights of the South African people. After spending 27 years in prison Nelson Mandela helped end apartheid in South Africa and bring equality for all in South Africa no matter what race. Nelson Mandela ending apartheid was a big step in the conflict between the races in South Africa.Apartheid was a horrible part of South African history  for over 40 years. Apartheid was racial segregation and discrimination by the South African government against its non-white residents.

In 1948 the white South Africans or NATS (Also known as the Nationalists or National Party) were in control of the government (Pollack and Belviso 24). Apartheid was a legal way for the government to separate black or colored South Africans from White South Africans (Pollack and Belviso 24). All South Africans had to be labeled by their race:  white, black, or colored  South Africans (Pollack and Belviso 24).

If there was any doubt to a person’s race tests were given. These tests could include having a pencil poked into your hair. If the pencil stuck, a person would be considered colored and not white (Pollack and Belviso 25). Under apartheid laws interracial marriages were illegal, and even buses and schools were segregated.The NATS goal was not only to separate South Africa’s white minority from its non-white majority, but also to separate non-whites from each other and to divide black South Africans along tribal lines in order to decrease their political power (“Apartheid”). For example, whites and non-whites had to use separate restrooms and had to live in different neighborhoods. In one of the most the most devastating acts of apartheid, the government forcibly removed black South Africans from rural areas designated as white and moved them to a place called the homelands. Their land was then sold at low prices to white farmers.

From 1961 to  1994, more than 3.5 million people were forcibly removed from their homes and were plunged into poverty (“Apartheid”). Black South Africans were forced to live in homelands or townships with very poor conditions. The homes in the townships were  simple shacks with no electricity or indoor plumbing (Pollack and Belviso 27). The townships for black South Africans were outside the city borders. Black South Africans had to travel long distances into the city to go to work every day. In addition to this, they also had a long distance to return home at night.

Because of these issues there was a growing resistance to apartheid by South African residents and foreign countries. In 1976, thousands of black children in Soweto, a black township outside Johannesburg, demonstrated against the Afrikaans language requirement for black African students. In response, the police opened fire with tear gas and bullets (“Apartheid”). The United States and United Nations stopped trading with South Africa because of incidents such as this.In 1918 Nelson Mandela was born in a small village in South Africa called Mvezo. (“Nelson Mandela”).

As a young boy Nelson Mandela dreamed of a South Africa where all races were treated equal. When Nelson Mandela was nine his father died and he was forced to move in with a foster father. His foster father was in the upper class and wanted Nelson to be a leader. In 1939 Nelson Mandela attended the University of Fort Hare. He was later expelled from the University of Fort Hare for protesting the bad conditions in the dorms (Pollack and Belviso 18).

After being expelled from the University of Fort Hare, Nelson Mandela went to a city in South Africa called Johannesburg. He joined a civil rights group there, and they fought for equality for black South Africans. The group was called the African National Congress or ANC for short. In 1948 South Africa got worse for black South Africans because of apartheid or segregation policies (Pollack and Belviso 23). Nelson Mandela and the ANC fought back against the government’s apartheid laws with peaceful and organized protests. In 1960 the South African police opened fire on a crowd of black protesters killing 69 people and wounding 180 people (Pollack and Belviso 57).

As a result of this unjust massacre people were angry and afraid. This caused riots to erupt throughout all of South Africa. The ANC started the Spear of Nation because of the increasing violence from the South African government (“Nelson Mandela”). They did not want to kill anyone so they mainly made statements by destroying things such as power plants, railways, and telephone poles. In addition to this, they also planned to cause an explosion in an uninhabited police station. As we can see, their main goal was to disrupt the running of the country as a protest to the apartheid laws not necessarily to hurt anybody. The Spear of Nation was an armed group that was a part of the ANC (“Nelson Mandela”).

The South African government later outlawed the ANC and PAC which forced both of them into hiding. In 1992 Nelson Mandela was arrested for trying to overthrow the South African government (Pollack and Belviso 56). He was also convicted of 222 acts of sabotage by the South African government and was sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island (Pollack and Belviso 61). He spent his first 18 years in Robben island prison doing hard labor. The conditions at the prison where unbearable. He had to sleep on the floor in a very small cell and use a bucket for toilet.

The guards on Robben Island were abusive to the inmates. While Nelson Mandela was in prison the conditions in South Africa worsened. A protest broke out in a Township called Soweto and the police opened fire on the black protesters. This caused riots to break out, these riots lasted for 16 months. In total 5980 people were arrested and about 1000 people died (Pollack and Belviso 80).

In 1982 Nelson Mandela moved to a prison near Cape Town South Africa.  Foreign countries began to put pressure on  the South African government to end its cruel apartheid laws. In 1990  the new South African president F. W. de Klerk  released Nelson Mandela from prison. Despite what you may think Nelson Mandela actually had a lot of political power even after his long jail sentence. He used that power to persuade people. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison he kept fighting for South Africans.

He asked the countries who were sanctioning South Africa to keep sanctioning them until Apartheid was ended. In 1992 Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk  signed a record of understanding. This record said that Nelson Mandela and F.

W. de Klerk would work toward making an agreement about the government (Pollack and Belviso 92). Also between 1990 and 1993 Nelson Mandela helped to end apartheid.

For their role in ending apartheid in 1993 Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk were jointly awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (Pollack and Belviso 92). In 1994 South Africa had its first democratic election and Nelson Mandela joined the race.  He ran against F. W.

de Klerk, the person who released him from prison.  In 1994 Nelson Mandela won the election and became the first black president of South Africa.  When Nelson Mandela was President he tried to be fair to all South Africans and heal the wounds created by apartheid. After serving 5 years as president Nelson Mandela stepped down from the presidency and announced his retirement in 2004. Even though Nelson Mandela retired he kept changing the world. Nelson Mandela started by creating funds and organizations to help with the injustice and poverty in South Africa (“Nelson Mandela”). In 1995 he started a children’s fund organization (“Nelson Mandela” ).

He also started the Nelson Mandela foundation in 1999 (“Nelson Mandela” ). Last but not least, Nelson Mandela started a HIV and AIDS charity in 2003 (“Nelson Mandela” ). He named this charity 46664 after his prison number. Nelson Mandela started that charity because one of his sons, named Makgatho, had died from an AIDS related illnesses at age 54. In 2007 Nelson Mandela started a special organization called The Elders. The Elders were a group of Global leaders that traveled the world working together to bring peace and human rights to various nations (“Nelson Mandela” ).

In 2001 Nelson mandela was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he still did not let that stop him. Sadly, in 2013 Nelson Mandela died of a Respiratory Tract Infection. Nelson Mandela never gave up on his people, and believed the best way to defeat enemies is to sit down and talk with to them. This belief helped him end apartheid for good. Nelson Mandela was a great man who not only changed South Africa, but impacted the whole world.

He dedicated his entire life to the fight for equality. For this, Nelson Mandela will be remembered for years and years to come.

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