If Nelson Mandela was alive, today would have been his 101th birthday. As the world marks Nelson Mandela Day and over a centenary of the freedom fighter’s birth, here are 10 things you must know about Nelson Mandela.
- Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918. When he was born, his name was Rolihlahla Mandela. His birth name means “to pull a branch off a tree” and “troublemaker.”
2. Nelson Mandela was president of South Africa from 1994-1999. He was the first black president of South Africa. He was also the first president of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative election.
3. Mandela studied law and became one of South Africa’s first black lawyers.
4. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1962-1990. He was charged with treason and conspiracy against the government, and sentenced to life in prison. When the ANC became legal again, Mandela was released.
5. Mandela married a First Lady. Before getting married to Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel was married to Mozambique President Samora Machel. She married Mandela after her husband’s death.
6. In 2009, the United Nations proclaimed Mandela’s birthday (July 18th) to be Nelson Mandela International Day. This is in commemoration of the impact he has made in the world, while inspiring others to do good.
7. In 1993, Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Price in recognition of his role in peacefully destroying the Apartheid system. This was also to honour the foundation he lay for democracy in South Africa.
8. He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1942. Mandela became President of the African National Congress.
9. Mandela’s prison number was 46664. This meant that he was the 466th prisoner in 1964.
10. He got involved in politics when he was a student at Fort Hare University. This was after he met Oliver Tambo, who became his life-long friend.