Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela

1722 (4 pages)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Nelson Mandela was a civil rights leader, leading many against the Apartheid government, which in the process, made many sacrifices willing to risk his life for the matter. He is a well-known political figure who has faced challenges, made contributions, and earned his worthiness. Nelson Mandela was a South African political leader, president, and anti-Apartheid activist who persisted and took responsible risks to fight and to stand up for the rights of people throughout the world who are disadvantaged by racial segregation.

Nelson Mandela was a civil rights leader in South Africa. He fought against apartheid, a system where non-white citizens were segregated, or separated from whites and did not have equal rights. Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in a little village called Mvezo, on the banks of the Mbashe River in Transkei, South Africa. Nelson Mandela was sent to live with the chief of the Thembu tribe when he was only twelve years of age after his father passed away. 

As Thembu royalty, Nelson Mandela attended a Wesleyan mission school, the Clarkebury Boarding Institute and Wesleyan College, where he achieved great success. In 1939, Mandela enrolled at the University of Fort Hare, the main school of higher learning for blacks in South Africa at the time. Fortress Hare was viewed as Africa’s equivalent of Harvard, drawing scholars from all parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Mandela then settled in Johannesburg, where he worked a variety of jobs, including as a guard and a clerk, while finishing his fourth year of college. He at that point, enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to study law. Nelson Mandela soon became a part of the anti-apartheid, joining the ANC.

The group’s goal was ‘to transform the ANC into a mass grassroots movement, deriving strength from millions of rural peasants and working people who had no voice under the current regime.’ For 20 years, Mandela led peaceful, non-violent protests and acts of defiance against South African government and its racist policies and laws. These acts included the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People. He founded the Mandela and Tambo law firm, partnering with Oliver Tambo, a student he met while attending Fort Hare. The law firm provided free and low cost counsel to unrepresented South Africans. 

Mandela and 150 other individuals were arrested and charged with treason for their aim to change and influence the government, or their political advocacy. They were eventually acquitted, although the ANC was being challenged by another group of activists who thought that the pacifical method of the ANC was not effective. The Africanists eventually formed the Pan-Africanist Congress, which negatively influenced the ANC; by 1959, the movement had lost a lot of its support. Formerly focused on peaceful protest, Mandela started to accept that violent actions were the best way to accomplish change. 

In 1961, Mandela helped to establish, or co founded Umkhonto we Sizwe, also called MK, an armed offshoot of the ANC committed to sabotage and utilize guerrilla war strategies to end racial segregation and apartheid. Nelson Mandela led a three-day national workers’ strike in 1961. He was arrested for leading the strike the next year and was sentenced to five years in jail. Mandela was brought to trail again in 1963. This time, he and 10 other ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment for political offenses, including harm and sabotage. Nelson Mandela worked hard, and felt passionate about the rights of South Africans. He joined political groups, led protests, and created law firms to fight for the rights of colored people around the world. He spent a part of his life in prison for his protests, but became a symbol for his people. Nelson Mandela persisted and worked diligently to try to achieve his dream and goal of giving a voice to South Africans.

Nelson Mandela was an anti apartheid activist who fought for those who were disadvantaged by the system of racial discrimination. Nelson Mandela is considered the father of South Africa. Mandela became a civil rights leader, leading many against the Apartheid government. He took many risks and made many sacrifices so he could achieve his goal. In 1961, he was arrested for treason, although he was acquitted, he was again arrested in 1962 for leaving the country illegally. Indicted and condemned to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial in 1964 on charges of sabotage. In June 1964, he was convicted along with a few other ANC leaders and sentenced to life in jail. ‘I went for a long holiday for 27 years (Nelson Mandela).’ 

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison at Robben Island Prison. Restricted to a little cell without a bed or plumbing, he had to do hard work in a quarry. He could write and receive one letter once every six years, and once a year he was allowed to meet with a visitor for 30 minutes. ‘Mandela’s resolve remained unbroken, and while remaining the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement, he led a movement of civil disobedience at the prison that coerced South African officials into drastically improving conditions on Robben Island ( Editors, 2010).’ He was later moved to another area, where he lived under house arrest. In 1989, F.W. De Klerk was elected South African president and set about dismantling Apartheid. De Klerk lifted the prohibition on the ANC, suspended executions, and on February 1990 demanded the release of Nelson Mandela. 

Mandela continued to drive the ANC in its negotiations with the minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. In 1993, Mandela and De Klerk were together awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. After one year, the ANC won an electoral majority in the country’s first free elections, and Mandela was elected South Africa’s president. Mandela retired from governmental issues and politics in 1999, however stayed a worldwide supporter of peace and social equality until his death in December 2013. 

‘Wounds that can’t be seen are more painful than those that can be seen and cured by a doctor. One of the saddest moments of my life in prison was the death of my mother. The next shattering experience was the death of my eldest son in a car accident (Nelson Mandela).’ Nelson Mandela faced many challenges, such as spending a portion of his life in prison, but Mandela refused to give up on his cause or his country. From the beginning, Nelson Mandela knew that a single person could be a catalyst for change, and he wasn’t afraid to be that catalyst.

Mandela formed and joined numerous organizations and alliances during his lifetime and is a symbol of the power that one individual needs to change the world, and make a difference. Almost every personal and professional path he took-whether that path meant establishing the first black law firm in South Africa, forming the ANC (African National Congress Youth League), or leading campaigns and protests ignoring the laws- was a brave and powerful example of the long journey to freedom. As Nelson Mandela put it, ‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’ In 1993, Mandela and President De Klerk together granted the Nobel Peace Prize for their work toward ending racial segregation and apartheid in South Africa. 

Nelson Mandela and President De Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela drove the ANC to victory and became president of South Africa. He kept a balance of political pressure and intense negotiations. During his time as president of South Africa, Mandela worked to protect South Africa’s economy from collapse. Through his Reconstruction and Development Plan, the South African government funded the creation of jobs, and basic health and housing care. In 1996, Mandela signed into law another constitution for the country, building up a solid government dependent on majority rule, and ensuring both the ‘rights of minorities and the freedom of expression’. 

Broadly viewed as a symbol of democracy and social equity, he received more than 250 honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Nelson Mandela drove the ANC in its negotiations with the governing National Party and other different South African political associations for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. Nelson Mandela sets an example of dedication, courage, and bravery. In 1985, the government offered to release Mandela from prison, as long as he would not engage in political activity. Nelson Mandela refused. ‘I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free. 

Your freedom and mine cannot be separated (Nelson Mandela).’ Nelson Mandela never gave up on his cause or his country. Even after almost 3 decades in prison, Mandela persisted and continued with his efforts to end apartheid. Nelson Mandela understood that its is important to forgive, history shouldn’t forget its troubled past. Nelson Mandela sought remembrance, instead of revenge, in response to acts of injustice under Apartheid rule. He understood that the only way to move forward as a country was understanding and gaining from its troubled past. He knew that his struggle was his people’s, as his people’s struggle with his. But Mandela opened that struggle and his message of justice to the world.’ Mandela’s message was one of peace, equity and freedom, an inclusive campaign that all individuals could support. He set the example for messaging and rallying for future activists to come.

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.Through hardships he held stood his ground and continued battling. His tireless efforts helped to end Apartheid rule. In 1993, Mandela was together granted the Nobel Peace Prize with President De Klerk for his work toward ending apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was a civil rights leader, who fought against apartheid, and for people disadvantaged by racial segregation. He impacted the lives of many people, and never stopped fighting for his country and his people. Nelson Mandela served to be a well respected political activist in the history of supporting humanity and will be remembered for his accomplishments as well as his determination to bring freedom and peace to all South Africans.

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela. (2022, February 23). WritingBros. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
“Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela.” WritingBros, 23 Feb. 2022,
Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Mar. 2023].
Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela [Internet]. WritingBros. 2022 Feb 23 [cited 2023 Mar 26]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges