Here are a few interesting facts about Mr. Mandela:
He was born Rolihlahla Mandela, which is a isiXhosa name that means “pulling the branch of the tree” or a nickname for “troublemaker.”
He is affectionately known as “Madiba” in his country, a tribal nickname.
He was born in 1918 in the small South African village of Mvezo, Transkei.
Starting at age 7 he was educated in a British school, where a missionary teacher gave him the name Nelson.
Mandela earned a law degree from the University of South Africa and started one of the first all-black law firms in the country.
He was president of the African National Council’s Youth Branch, and led their Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws, a movement of nonviolent mass resistance.
Mandela’s ANC was labeled a terrorist organization by the apartheid government and its allies, including the US and Britain. Not until 2008 did the US finally remove Nelson Mandela from its terror list!
He was arrested multiple times by the government, but finally on June 12, 1964 he was he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for sabotage. It’s believed that an American CIA agent tipped off the police where they could find and arrest Mandela.
He spent 18 years doing hard labor on Robben Island prison and then in 1982 was transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison.
Finally he was granted amnesty and released in February 11, 1990, after serving almost 10,000 days, or 27 years, in prison.
Upon his release he was urged to attack his political and apartheid opponents, but instead preached forgiveness, healing, and their inclusion into the new South African government.
He was elected president 1994, 300 years since a black man was allowed vote in South Africa
His son died of AIDS in 1995, which led Mandela to promote awareness, medical treatment, and remove the veil of secrecy from the epidemic in his country
He’s been married three times, to Evelyn Mandela from 1944-158, ending in divorce, to Winnie Mandela from 1958-1996, ending in divorce, and to Graca from 1998 to present.
Nelson Madela won the Nobel Peace Prize in July of 1993.
The United Nations has declared July 18, his birthday, Nelson Mandela International Day, which is the first time the UN ever dedicated a day to a person.
He remains hospitalized, and we pray for him.