Nelson Mandela was born to father Gadla Henry who was a local chief and mother Nosekeni Fanny, the third wife of Gadla. His childhood days were majorly around "custom, ritual and taboo". Mandela grew up at his mother's village, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with other boys.
Both his parents were illiterate. When Mandela was 7, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school. This is where he got his first name “Nelson” given by a teacher, a common practice of giving African students an English name. Later, he attended a Methodist mission school studying English, Xhosa, history and geography. Mandela began his secondary education at Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo, a Western-style institution that was the largest school for black Africans in Thembuland. In 1937, he attended the Methodist College in Fort Beaufort, Healtdown. Later he pursued his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare.
On 5th August 1962, Mandela was arrested for his protests on the opposition of apartheid activities and demand for the formation of anti-apartheid government. He had stayed for 27 years in the jail and kept inspiring his followers from the jail to continue their protests.
After getting released from jail in 1990, Mandela started his convey to end this long term of apartheid. He began meeting supporters and politicians of Africa and many foreign countries encouraging them to support sanctions against the apartheid government. From 1994-99 he was formally elected as South Africa’s first black President. Mandela took the task of national reconciliation on utmost priority and lead South Africa to see the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy. In December 1994, Mandela's autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” was published.
At the End
Retiring in June 1999, Mandela sought a quiet family life. In the same year he founded and remained active with the work of Nelson Mandela Foundation, to focus on rural development, school construction, and combating HIV/AIDS.
After suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection, Mandela died on 5th December 2013 at the age of 95, at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. On 6th December 2013, President Jacob Zuma announced a national mourning period of ten days. 8th December 2013 was declared as national day of prayer and reflection.
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