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Nelson Mandela

Luglio 2018
Si compiono cento anni dalla nascita di una delle figure più importanti della storia moderna. Grazie alla sua determinazione e al coraggio è considerato tra gli eroi della lotta per i diritti civili, insieme a Mahatma Gandhi o Martin Luther King.

di Toby Saul

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Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

Speaker: Sarah Davison (British accent)

Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo, South Africa, on July 18th 1918. He studied law, but soon became involved in the fight against the South African government following the establishment of apartheid, a regime designed to ensure the dominance of the white minority over the black population. As a young man, he joined the African National Congress, the South African political party that fought for rights for black and mixed race Africans. He quickly rose up the ranks until in 1962 he was put on trial for his political activities. 

POLITICAL PRISONER

Sentenced to life imprisonment, he spent 27 years in jail, eighteen of them in the notoriously harsh Robben Island. In an attempt to discredit his cause, the South African government several times offered him the chance of freedom in return for compromising his principles. Each time he refused.

DEMOCRACY

Change arrived in 1989 when F.W. de Klerk became President. Believing that apartheid was both unsustainable and immoral, he began to release imprisoned members of the ANC. When Mandela was freed, de Klerk found the partner he needed to end the apartheid regime completely. The two men negotiated South Africa’s transition to democracy and were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

COURAGE

Mandela is remembered for the courage with which he faced his imprisonment. Many of the men who fought in the anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century and became leaders of newly independent countries could not give up the power that had cost so much to win. In 1999, when the time came for Mandela to step down from the Presidency, he left without complaint. That took a certain kind of courage too.

A SURVIVOR

Like Gandhi and King, Nelson Mandela lived through extremely violent times. Unlike them, he managed to escape the assassin’s bullet. He died, peacefully, at the age of 95 on December 5th 2013. His death was marked and mourned throughout the world.  


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