By Miriam Jomo
Nelson Mandela’s presidency began on 10 May 1994, when Nelson Mandela an anti apartheid activist, lawyer, and former political prisoner, was introduced as president of South Africa and ended on 14 June 1999.
Nelson Mandela is considered by many to be the father of South Africa. Mandela was an anti-Apartheid activist, which means that He fought for those who were disadvantaged by the system of racial segregation. Mandela became a civil rights leader, leading many against the Apartheid government.
Apartheid was a system of racial inequality which kept all races separate from one another. In 1994, Mandela was of key importance in negotiating the freedom and equality of all South Africans. He then became South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
Mandela was arrested by the apartheid government and during the Rivonia Trail (1963 -1964) and was sentenced to jail. He spent 27 years in jail, and most of that time was spent on Robben Island. During this time, he had become an international symbol for the anti-Apartheid movement. Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement gained international support as there were worldwide protests and sanctions against the apartheid government
The fight against the apartheid government was a success due to both local and international pressure which forced the regime to end. On the 11 February 1990, F.W. de Klerk, who was South Africa’s president at that time, released Nelson Mandela from jail. Together they worked to end apartheid by abolishing apartheid laws, freeing civil rights protestors and unbanning political parties.
The 27 April 1994 was a historical day, when South Africa’s first democratic elections were held and everyone was given the right to vote regardless of their race. The ANC won the elections and Mandela, as its leader, became the first democratically elected president
He was the first non-white head of state in South African history, as well as the first to take office following the dismantling of the apartheid system and the introduction of multiracial democracy.
Nelson Mandela Day has enjoyed 10 years of global support and solidarity since it was launched in 2009.
Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day) is an annual international day in honors of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. Mandela Day is not meant as a public holiday, but as a day to honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former President, volunteering and Community services.
Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.
The Mandela Day campaign message is:
“Nelson Mandela fought for justice for 67 years. Use 67 minutes to do something positive for your community in honor for the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent in fighting for a free and democratic South Africa.
The day to serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty, and promote peace, reconciliation and cultural adversity.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”. Nelson Mandela