Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Nelson Mandela

(OSJ) Nelson Mandela - 11th President of South Africa; 18th Secretary General of Non-Aligned; Anti-apartheid activist; Leader of the African National Congress Movement and its Armed Wing: Spear of the Nation (MK)

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela IPA: [xolí?a?a mandé?la] (born 18 July 1918) is a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress and its armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He spent 27 years in prison, much of it in a cell on Robben Island and the remainder in Pollsmoor Prison, on convictions for crimes that included sabotage committed while he spearheaded the struggle against apartheid.

Among opponents of apartheid in South Africa and internationally, he became a symbol of freedom and equality, while the apartheid government and nations sympathetic to it condemned him and the ANC as communists and terrorists.

Following his release from prison in February 11, 1990, his switch to a policy of reconciliation and negotiation helped lead the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised, even by former opponents.

Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.



At seven years of age, Rolihlahla Mandela became the first member of his family to attend a school, where he was given the name "Nelson," after the British admiral Horatio Nelson, by a Methodist teacher who found his native name difficult to pronounce.[citation needed]

His father died of tuberculosis when Rolihlahla was nine, and the Regent, Jongintaba, became his guardian. Mandela attended a Wesleyan mission school next door to the palace of the Regent. Following Thembu custom, he was initiated at age sixteen, and attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute. He completed his Junior Certificate in two years, instead of the usual three. Destined to inherit his father's position as a privy councillor, in 1937 Mandela moved to Healdtown, the Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort which most Thembu royalty attended. Aged nineteen, he took an interest in boxing and running.[1]

After matriculating, he started to study for a B.A. at the Fort Hare University, where he met Oliver Tambo, and the two became lifelong friends and colleagues. He also became close friends with his kinsman, Kaiser ("K.D.") Matanzima who, however, as royal scion of the Thembu Right Hand House, was destined for the throne of Transkei, a role that later led him to embrace Bantustan policies which made him and Mandela political enemies.[1] At the end of Nelson's first year, he became involved in a boycott by the Students' Representative Council against the university policies, and was asked to leave Fort Hare.

Later, while imprisoned, Mandela studied for a Bachelor of Laws from the University of London External Programme (see below).


Guerrilla activities

In 1961, Mandela became the leader of the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (translated as Spear of the Nation, also abbreviated as MK), which he co-founded. He coordinated a sabotage campaign against military and government targets, and made plans for a possible guerrilla war if sabotage failed to end apartheid. A few decades later, MK did wage a guerrilla war against the regime, especially during the 1980s, in which many civilians were killed. Mandela also raised funds for MK abroad, and arranged for paramilitary training, visiting various African governments.

Mandela explains the move to embark on armed struggle as a last resort, when increasing repression and violence from the state convinced him that many years of non-violent protest against apartheid had achieved nothing and could not succeed.[6][2]

Mandela later admitted that the ANC, in its struggle against apartheid, also violated human rights, and has sharply criticised attempts by parts of his party to remove statements supporting this fact from the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.[7]

On 5 August 1962 Mandela was arrested after living on the run for seventeen months, and was imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort. The arrest was made possible because the CIA tipped off the security police as to Mandela's whereabouts and disguise.[8][9][10] Three days later, the charges of leading workers to strike in 1961 and leaving the country illegally were read to him during a court appearance. On 25 October 1962, Mandela was sentenced to five years in prison. Two years later on 11 June 1964, a verdict had been reached concerning his previous engagement in the African National Congress (ANC).

While Mandela was imprisoned, police arrested prominent ANC leaders on 11 July 1963, at Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia, north of Johannesburg. Mandela was brought in, and at the Rivonia Trial, Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi, Walter Mkwayi (who escaped during trial), Arthur Goldreich (who escaped from prison before trial), Denis Goldberg and Lionel "Rusty" Bernstein were charged by the chief prosecutor Dr. Percy Yutar, the deputy attorney-general of the Transvaal, with the capital crimes of sabotage (which Mandela admitted) and crimes which were equivalent to treason, but easier for the government to prove. The second charge accused the defendants of plotting a foreign invasion of South Africa, which Mandela denied.

In his statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the trial on 20 April 1964 at Pretoria Supreme Court, Mandela laid out the clarity of reasoning in the ANC's choice to use violence as a tactic. His statement revealed how the ANC had used peaceful means to resist apartheid for years until the Sharpeville Massacre. That event coupled with the referendum establishing the Republic of South Africa and the declaration of a state of emergency along with the banning of the ANC made it clear that their only choice was to resist through acts of sabotage. Doing otherwise would have been tantamount to unconditional surrender. Mandela went on to explain how they developed the Manifesto of Umkhonto we Sizwe on 16 December 1961 intent on exposing the failure of the National Party's policies after the economy would be threatened by foreigners' unwillingness to risk investing in the country.[11] He closed his statement with these words:
“ During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.[6] ”

Bram Fischer, Vernon Berrange, Harry Schwarz, Joel Joffe, Arthur Chaskalson and George Bizos were part of the defence team that represented the accused. Harold Hanson was brought in at the end of the case to plead mitigation. All except Rusty Bernstein were found guilty, but they escaped the gallows and were sentenced to life imprisonment on 12 June 1964. Charges included involvement in planning armed action, in particular four charges of sabotage, which Mandela admitted to, and a conspiracy to help other countries invade South Africa, which Mandela denied.


Iraq invasion views

In 2003 Mandela criticised the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration in a number of speeches. Criticising the lack of UN involvement in the decision to begin the War in Iraq, he said, "It is a tragedy, what is happening, what Bush is doing. But Bush is now undermining the United Nations." Mandela stated he would support action against Iraq only if it is ordered by the UN. Mandela also insinuated that Bush may have been motivated by racism in not following the UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan on the issue of the war. "Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white".[40]

He urged the people of the U.S. to join massive protests against Bush and called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the UN Security Council, to oppose him. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." He attacked the United States for its record on human rights and for dropping atomic bombs on Japan during World War II. "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care."[40]

As a member of the United States House of Representatives in 1986, Dick Cheney had voted against a congressional resolution calling for Mandela's release from prison. In 2002, Mandela called Cheney a "dinosaur."[41]



Above: Mr Nelson Mandela and the Duke of Gloucester, at the Knights and Dames Investiture on 23rd November [2004] at St James’s Palace, when the Duke invested Mr Mandela as a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St John. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were later the Guests of Honour at a dinner at the Army and Navy Club, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of His Royal Highness’s appointment as Grand Prior

http://www.orderofstjohn.org/pdf/link14.pdf (Proof Positive)

From left: Watercolour Painting of St John Ambulance Brigade Members attending to a patient at a Duran-Duran concert; "Glenshiel", headquarters of the Order of St John in South Africa; President Nelson Mandela, wearing his Knight of Grace mantle.

http://www.suedickinson.co.za/st-john-mandela.html (Proof Positive II)
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