The Nelson Mandela Statue

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Listed by english literature, phonetics and Linguistics. Martha Tsika
Place Category: Architecture and Visual ArtsPlace Tags: Commonwealth, Mandela, and South Africa

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  • Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 of a wealthy father and the fourth of his wives. After his father’s death he was adopted by Jongintaba Dalindyebo, a high-ranking Thembu regent who began grooming his young ward for a role within the tribal leadership.

    The first in his family to receive a formal education, Mandela completed his primary studies at a local missionary school. There, a teacher dubbed him Nelson as part of a common practice of giving African students English names.

    Nelson Mandela’s commitment to politics and the ANC grew stronger after the 1948 election victory of the Afrikaner-dominated National Party which introduced a formal system of racial classification and segregation—apartheid—that restricted nonwhites’ basic rights and barred them from government while maintaining white minority rule.
    Mandela helped lead the ANC’s 1952 Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws and in the same year, Mandela with his friend Tambo opened South Africa’s first black law firm, which offered free or low-cost legal counsel to those affected by apartheid legislation.
    On December 5, 1956, Mandela and 155 other activists were arrested and went on trial for treason but were soon freed.
    In 1961, Nelson Mandela co-founded and became the first leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), also known as MK, a new armed wing of the ANC. Several years later he was again arrested and put to the trial that would put him behind bars for nearly three decades.

    Nelson Mandela spent the first 18 of his 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben Island Prison, a former leper colony off the coast of Cape Town, where he was confined to a small cell without a bed or plumbing and compelled to do hard labor in a lime quarry. As a black political prisoner, he received scantier rations and fewer privileges than other inmates. He was only allowed to see his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936-), who he had married in 1958 and was the mother of his two young daughters, once every six months. Mandela and his fellow prisoners were routinely subjected to inhumane punishments for the slightest of offenses; among other atrocities, there were reports of guards burying inmates in the ground up to their necks and urinating on them.

    In 1982 Mandela was moved to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland, and in 1988 he was placed under house arrest on the grounds of a minimum-security correctional facility. The following year, newly elected president F. W. de Klerk (1936-) lifted the ban on the ANC and called for a nonracist South Africa, breaking with the conservatives in his party. On February 11, 1990, he ordered Mandela’s release.

    After attaining his freedom, Nelson Mandela led the ANC in its negotiations with the governing National Party and various other South African political organizations for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. Though fraught with tension and conducted against a backdrop of political instability, the talks earned Mandela and de Klerk the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1993. On April 26, 1994, more than 22 million South Africans turned out to cast ballots in the country’s first multiracial parliamentary elections in history. An overwhelming majority chose the ANC to lead the country, and on May 10 Mandela was sworn in as the first black president of South Africa, with de Klerk serving as his first deputy.

    The Nelson Mandela statue was erected to honour the great man on August ,9, 2007. Nelson Mandela , 89 then, was present and very touched by the gesture. He was quoted to be extremely “honoured”.

    The former South African president was visibly moved when Gordon Brown described the artwork as a “beacon of hope” for the oppressed around the world.

    The Prime Minister said: “Nelson Mandela is one of the most courageous and best-loved men of all time. You will be here with us always.”

    A crowd of thousands gathered in central London to pay tribute to the veteran campaigner.

    http://www.history.com/topics/nelson-mandela

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1561586/Nelson-Mandela-statue-unveiled-in-London.html

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