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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:59 AM

29 Years Ago Today; Nelson Mandela Released from prison after 27 years

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela



Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (/mænˈdɛlə/;[1] Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.

A Xhosa, Mandela was born to the Thembu royal family in Mvezo, British South Africa. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg. There he became involved in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics, joining the ANC in 1943 and co-founding its Youth League in 1944. After the National Party's white-only government established apartheid, a system of racial segregation that privileged whites, he and the ANC committed themselves to its overthrow. Mandela was appointed President of the ANC's Transvaal branch, rising to prominence for his involvement in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People. He was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the 1956 Treason Trial. Influenced by Marxism, he secretly joined the banned South African Communist Party (SACP). Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the SACP he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961 and led a sabotage campaign against the government. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962, and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state following the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990. Mandela and de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president. Leading a broad coalition government which promulgated a new constitution, Mandela emphasised reconciliation between the country's racial groups and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. Economically, Mandela's administration retained its predecessor's liberal framework despite his own socialist beliefs, also introducing measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial and served as Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999. He declined a second presidential term, and in 1999 was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman and focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the charitable Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Although critics on the right denounced him as a communist terrorist and those on the far-left deemed him too eager to negotiate and reconcile with apartheid's supporters, he gained international acclaim for his activism. Widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, he received more than 250 honours—including the Nobel Peace Prize—and became the subject of a cult of personality. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, and described as the "Father of the Nation".

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela#Victor_Verster_Prison_and_release:_1988%E2%80%931990

Victor Verster Prison and release: 1988–1990
Recovering from tuberculosis exacerbated by the damp conditions in his cell, in December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl. He was housed in the relative comfort of a warder's house with a personal cook, and used the time to complete his LLB degree. While there, he was permitted many visitors and organised secret communications with exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo.

In 1989, Botha suffered a stroke; although he would retain the state presidency, he stepped down as leader of the National Party, to be replaced by F. W. de Klerk. In a surprise move, Botha invited Mandela to a meeting over tea in July 1989, an invitation Mandela considered genial. Botha was replaced as state president by de Klerk six weeks later; the new president believed that apartheid was unsustainable and released a number of ANC prisoners. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, de Klerk called his cabinet together to debate legalising the ANC and freeing Mandela. Although some were deeply opposed to his plans, de Klerk met with Mandela in December to discuss the situation, a meeting both men considered friendly, before legalising all formerly banned political parties in February 1990 and announcing Mandela's unconditional release. Shortly thereafter, for the first time in 20 years, photographs of Mandela were allowed to be published in South Africa.

Leaving Victor Verster Prison on 11 February, Mandela held Winnie's hand in front of amassed crowds and the press; the event was broadcast live across the world. Driven to Cape Town's City Hall through crowds, he gave a speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority, but made it clear that the ANC's armed struggle was not over, and would continue as "a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid". He expressed hope that the government would agree to negotiations, so that "there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle", and insisted that his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in national and local elections. Staying at Tutu's home, in the following days Mandela met with friends, activists, and press, giving a speech to an estimated 100,000 people at Johannesburg's Soccer City.

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Reply 29 Years Ago Today; Nelson Mandela Released from prison after 27 years (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Monday OP
Nonhlanhla Monday #1
Dennis Donovan Monday #2
Nonhlanhla Monday #3

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 07:03 AM

1. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was an 19 year old college student in South Africa, and living in a dorm on campus, about half an hour's drive from where Mandela was imprisoned. I went down to one of the lounges where there was a television set and sat and watched the whole thing unfold. I was so curious to see his face, and so excited about his release. He was a great man.

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Response to Nonhlanhla (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 07:05 AM

2. He certainly was. You were fortunate to be there (SA) at that moment!

It must've been electrifying throughout the country!

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 07:32 AM

3. I'm white, and my community reacted with mixed feelings

I have no doubt that the black community was feeling high levels of excitement. Whites responded with mixed feelings, some with outright hostility, others, like me, with excitement and hope. What a lot of people outside South Africa don't know is that a lot of white people there were fed-up with apartheid too, although they were afraid of what majority rule might mean for them. But two thirds of whites voted in 1989 for a negotiated end to apartheid, and many embraced Mandela's vision of a multi-racial South Africa, although they were nervous. So yes, electrifying and also complex!

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