Nelson Mandela Biography For Kids

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, into a royal family of the Thembu tribe in Mvezo, a village in South Africa. His father, was the chief of the tribe. Nelson’s birth name was Rolihlahla


Nelson was the first in his family to receive formal education. He completed his primary studies at a missionary school. He went to the Clarkebury Boarding Institute and Healdtown, a secondary school.

In 1939 Nelson went to the University of Fort Hare, the only Western-style higher learning institute for South African blacks at the time. During those times, the people with black skin colour were not treated well. This was called the Apartheid.

Apartheid was discrimination based on colour of skin. In those days, the whites in south Africa were treated well, while people with black skin colour were not treated well by the government as well as the white citizens of South Africa. The people with black skin colour were not allowed to study in schools or colleges where the whites studied. Also they were not allowed to visit certain public places where the whites visited.

Nelson Mandela fought for the equality of people with black skin colour. In 1944, Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) and established the African National Congress Youth League or the ANCYL.

Very soon Nelson Mandela became one of the most popular leaders in the community of people with black skin colour. He led the Defiance Campaign in 1952 and Congress of the People in 1955.Due to his rising popularity, Nelson was considered a danger by the white authorities. They arrested him for 5 years, but Nelson continued to fight for equal rights for his fellow black people.

He took military training in Morocco and Ethiopia. But when Nelson, returned to South Africa in July 1962, he was arrested again, and sent to prison for all his life. He spent 27 years in three different prisons. In the Robben island prison, Nelson and his fellowmen were physically and verbally abused. Nelson’s eyesight was badly damaged as he was forced to work in a lime quarry without glasses. Nelson along with others in the prison formed a community called the University of Robben Island, where the prisoners shared their skill and knowledge. Nelson shared his knowledge on social and political topics.

The jail authorities were so scared of Nelson’s rising popularity that they transferred him to Pollsmoor Prison in 1982. Nelson was treated well there, and he used his time to read and write a lot. His wrote for humanitarian causes, not just for blacks but for all the skin colours. In 1988 Nelson was transferred to the VICTOR VERSETER PRISON, where he was treated well. During his stay in this prison, Nelson completed his bachelor of law degree. Finally, Nelson was released from the prison on 11th February 1990. In 1993 Nelson Mandela along with the South African President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for peaceful closing of the Apartheid system to bring equality for all skin colours and races. On 27th April 1994 Nelson Mandela voted for the first time, and on 10th May, 1994 Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela always stood up for democracy, equality and learning. He faced a lot of problems but never answered racism with racism. His life is an inspiration to all. Nelson died at his home in Johannesburg on 5 December 2013.

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Nelson Mandela For Kids