Nelson Mandela

Essay by stradimi955High School, 10th gradeB, October 2014

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Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, on July 18, 1918. At a young age his father died which made him the ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni. Hearing the elder's stories of his ancestor's valour during the wars of resistance, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people. In primary school his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the name Nelson. Nelson Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but didn't complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest. He completed his BA through the University of South Africa and went back to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943. On his return to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni the King was furious and said if he didn't return to Fort Hare he would arrange wives for him and his cousin.

They ran away to Johannesburg instead arriving there in 1941. There he worked as a mine security officer and after meeting Walter Sisulu, an estate agent, who introduced him to Lazer Sidelsky. He then did his articles through a firm of attorneys, Witkin Eidelman and Sidelsky. Meanwhile he began studying for an LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand. By his own admission he was a poor student and left the university in 1952 without graduating. He only started studying again through the University of London after his imprisonment in 1962 but also didn't complete that degree. In 1989, while in the last months of his imprisonment, he obtained an LLB through the University of South Africa. Nelson Mandela, while increasingly politically involved from 1942, only joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped to form the...