Nelson Mandela as a Law Changer 

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“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – (Nelson Mandela,1918-2013).

From century to century, many countries have recorded individuals or groups that have stood their grounds and fought for laws to be changed for the greater good of not only themselves but the future generations as well. Now these same laws which our forefathers so struggled for their implementation and may have paid the price with their lives, are being flaunted without some respect and thought for their selflessness. Well, that is a topic for another day!

This report is centered on Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid activist who is celebrated around the world first, for his active role in making South Africa a multiracial government and being the first black president of his homeland.

Rolihlahla Mandela was born on the 18th of July, 1918 in the East of Cape as a member of the Madiba clan in the village of Mveso in South Africa to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, who was a direct counsellor to Jongintaba Dalindyebo the then acting king of the people of Thembu. In 1930, after young Rolihlahla turned 12 years old, his father passed on and he was brought up in the Great Place in Mqhekezweni.
As a young boy, he was intrigued by the stories of his brave ancestors who bravely fought in wars; he therefore longed to make a contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.

His primary education was in Qunu; where the teacher took it upon herself to give all the pupils English names, hence the name Nelson was birthed. He then went on to complete his Junior Certificate and matriculated thereafter. At the University College of Fort Hare, he began studying for a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete it due to the fact that he was expelled for taking part in a student protest.

Shortly after Mandela returned home, Regent Jongintaba declared that he had found a wife for him. Mandela, terrified, left home and settled in Johannesburg where he enrolled at the University of Witwaterscrand to study law.

Madiba was actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement and joined in 1942. Although he was committed to non-violent protests, as time went on, he believed armed struggle spoke volumes. In 1961, he master-minded a three-day national worker’s strike. He was arrested and spent 27 years in prison and was released on February 11, 1990. He became South Africa’s first black president on May 10, 1994, at age 77.

Legal Issue

Nelson was an anti-apartheid activist. Per the definition, apartheid was a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. In essence, it prevented black people and people from other races as well from having the same political and economic rights as white people.

Segregation is the action or state of setting someone or something apart from others. Also it can be further explained as the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community or establishment. Basically, apartheid was the official policy or the implementation of racial implementation.

The Beginning of Apartheid

Racial discrimination and the dominion of the white people were already present in South Africa long before apartheid began. Passed three years after the independence of South Africa, the much debated 1913 Land Act established the beginning of territorial seclusion as the black Africans were forced to live in the reserves. Essentially, it was against the law for them to work on the farms of the whites, go to the same hospitals and attend the same schools with white people. Those who opposed the Land Act, formed the South African National Native Congress, which later on became known as the African National Congress.

The Natives Land Act of 1913 condemned fewer than one-tenth of South Africa as black ‘reserves’ and it was absolutely unthinkable for the black people under apartheid to even purchase or lease land outside of the reserves. Nelson Mandela believed everyone deserved equal rights. This means each and every person deserves to be treated equally and reserves the right to fight for their rights.

He joined the African National Congress which was initially the South African National Native Congress and he later co-founded the African National Congress Youth League. He led protests against apartheid. Soon after, although he believed in peaceful protests, he felt there was the need for violence. The demonstrations turned violent and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Mandela delivered a four-hour speech from the dock of the court at the end of his trial in 1964. This brought him international recognition as a leader of the apartheid opposition. Upon his release, he was able to negotiate the transition to democracy with President F.W. de Klerk, charting a course between the more radical elements flanking both leaders. Later on, they both won the Noble Peace Prize in 1993.

Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa which legally brought the system of apartheid to an end and introduced the multiracial democratic system. Mandela was successful in his cause to demolish apartheid!
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – (Nelson Mandela,1918-2013)

List of References Used

  1. BBC. (2019).Nelson Mandela Day: Why is he so important: BBC. Retrieved on 29th September,2019 from https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/25263229.
  2. Biography.com Editors. (2014). Nelson Mandela biography. The Biography.com website. Retrieved, 16th September,2019 from https://www.biography.com/political-figure/nelson-mandela.
  3. Hall M., Cobbing J.(2019) South Africa Encyclopedia Britannica,inc. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/SouthAfrica.
  4. History.com Editors. (2010). Apartheid. History. Retrieved 26th September, 2019 from https://www.history.com/topics/africa/apartheid.
  5. Lexico (2019). Segregation. Lexico.com. Retrieved 19th September, 2019 from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/segregation
  6. Merriam-Webster. (1828). Definition of apartheid. Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved on 19th September,2019 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apartheid.
  7. Nelson Mandela Foundation. (2019). Biography of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela Foundation. Retrieved on the 18th of September, 2019 from http://www.(nelsonmadela.org/content/page/biography.
  8. Parallels. (2013). Mandela: A Rare Success As Liberation Leader And President. Parallels. Retrieved on 1st October,2019 from https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2013/06/12/1910228616/mandela-a-rare-sucess-as-liberation-leader-and-president.


Cite this paper

Nelson Mandela as a Law Changer . (2020, Oct 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/nelson-mandela-as-a-law-changer/

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