Madiba….. a life that will never be forgotten

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Rolihlahla Mandela, the son of a Thembu tribal chief, was born in Mvezo, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918. He was the first of his family to go to school. It was there he received the name Nelson – it was customary for school children to be given English names. In 1941, he fled to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage. He met Walter Sisulu who helped him get work at law firm Witkin Sidelsky. Mr Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944.

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Mr Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952 set up the country’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo.
Fearing a ban by the apartheid government, the ANC asked Mr Mandela to make plans to ensure the party could work underground. He was arrested in 1956 and charged with treason along with 155 others. The trial lasted four-and-a-half-years, and ended with his being acquitted. In 1958, he married his second wife, Winnie Madikizela.

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South African anti-apartheid leader and

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After police killed 69 protesters in Sharpeville in March 1960, the government feared retaliation, so it declared a state of emergency and then banned the ANC. The organisation formed a military wing, led by Mr Mandela.
In 1962, Mr Mandela was arrested and tried for leaving the country illegally. In 1963, while in prison, he was charged with sabotage. He and seven others were sentenced to life in 1964 and jailed on Robben Island.

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Dire Straits and Eric Clapton at Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday tribute

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The international community started to tighten sanctions which had been first imposed on the apartheid regime in 1967. By 1990, the pressure led to President FW de Klerk lifting the ban on the ANC. On 11 February 1990, Mr Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Crowds cheered as he and his wife Winnie left the prison grounds. The next year, Mr Mandela was elected ANC president at the party’s first national conference. Talks began on forming a new, multi-racial democracy.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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Mandela is greeted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Cape Town City Hall, among the first group of people that Mandela celebrated with after his release.

Nelson Mandela After His Release

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu leads Mandela through the neighborhood in Soweto where Mandela lived before going to prison — the same neighborhood home to Archbishop Tutu — on the first day of his release from prison.

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Nelson Mandela shares his first meal at the Mandela home in Soweto with his family and fellow inmate of 27 years, Walter Sisulu. The man pouring champagne, Cyril Ramaphosa, who many believe could be the next President of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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The morning after Mandela’s release from prison, he returned to his one-bedroom, cinder-block home that only recently had indoor plumbing, where he and Winnie had started their life with two daughters 27 years earlier, Zinzi and Zni.

South Africans Celebrate Mandela's Release

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Madiba sits in the backyard in front of the international press corps with his beloved wife, Winnie, the day after his release from prison.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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Sitting with Walter Sisulu, who had spent 27 years in prison with Mandela, just minutes after his release, they confer seconds before Mandela made his first public speech to the world.

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Following his release, Mr Mandela visited many countries and met world leaders as he prepared to stand for election as president. He is seen here at South Africa House in London, where round the clock anti-apartheid protests took place.

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In 1993, Mr Mandela and South African President FW De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to bring stability to South Africa. The Nobel Committee said both men had made “a brilliant contribution to peace”. Accepting the award, Mr Mandela said: “We will do what we can to contribute to the renewal of our world.”

Nelson Mandela | 1993

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Following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, he circulated through the country. Everywhere he went, millions of South Africans came out to celebrate their leader and to support him in his quest to become the first President of a democratic South Africa. 1993.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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South Africa’s first democratic elections were held on 27 April 1994. Black South Africans formed long queues to cast their ballots for the first time. The ANC won a landslide and Nelson Mandela became the first black president.

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In 1994, for the first time in South Africa’s history, people from all races voted in democratic elections. The ANC won and Mr Mandela became president. He told crowds at his inauguration on 10 May, 1994: “Let freedom reign, God bless Africa!” His deputy, Thabo Mbeki, took over the day-to-day running of government, leaving Mr Mandela free to promote the country abroad.

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To mark the fifth anniversary of his release, Mr Mandela visited the prison on Robben Island where he had spent 18 years in captivity. Mr Mandela made the visit in February 1995 with other former prisoners who had served time on the island, where many were forced to perform hard labor.

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For those familiar with the movie Invictus, in real life, these are the two sons of the 1996 South African World Cup Rugby champion’s captain, Francois Pienaar.

Sitting on his lap, the boy on the right asked innocently, “Madiba, how could they have put you in prison for 27 years when you didn’t steal anything?” Madiba responded, “Sweetheart, I did steal something. I stole freedom for our people.”

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Mr Mandela served just a single term as president and in 1999 became one of the few African leaders to stand down voluntarily. Thabo Mbeki was given the almost impossible task of succeeding Mr Mandela as leader of both South Africa and the ANC.

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Mr Mandela stepped down as ANC president in 1997 and his successor Thabo Mbeki led the party to victory at the polls in 1999. On his 80th birthday, Mr Mandela married his third wife Graca Machel. He became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping secure the 2010 football World Cup. He announced his retirement from public life in 2004. Joking with reporters, he said: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

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Nelson Mandela visits the mud rondavel in which he was raised as a child in the rural Transkei. In his years following his Presidency, he moved back to this area that represented for him his roots and his love for the beauty of his South African land. With his classic charm and a smile on his face, he remarked upon exiting the dwelling that he had become a man in this rondavel.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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Mandela sits with his new wife, Graca Machel, in their home outside Qunu, in the Transkei where Mandela was raised. 2007.

Nelson Mandela- Photographs by David Turnley

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Musicians, film stars and politicians joined Mr Mandela at a concert in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 to celebrate his 90th birthday. Speaking to the crowd, he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens, it is in your hands now.”

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The former president made few public appearances after his 90th birthday, although he appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup, hosted by South Africa.

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In January 2011, Mr Mandela was admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection and he suffered repeated infections over the next two years. His lungs are said to have been damaged when he worked in a prison quarry. He died at home on 5 December 2013.

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R.I.P Madiba

Cross Posted at TOD

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