Nelson Mandela Quotes, Biography, Facts

Nelson Mandela, born 18 July 1918, was South Africa's eleventh president and its first democratically elected president. Before his election to the presidency, Nelson Mandela protested against apartheid by leading the African National Congress (ANC). He was jailed for 27 years on a charge of sabotage for his work with the ANC. A symbol of hope for many, Mandela is also a former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918) was the first President of South Africa (from 1994 to 1999) to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his presidency, he was a prominent anti-apartheid radical and leader of the African National Congress, who had spent 27 years in prison for his involvement in underground armed resistance activities and sabotage.

Through his long imprisonment, much of it spent in a cell on Robben Island, Mandela became the most widely known figure in the struggle against South African apartheid. Although the apartheid regime and those sympathetic to it considered him and the ANC to be communists and terrorists, he explains the move to embark on armed struggle as a last resort. He had been steadfastly committed to non-violence until increasing repression and violence from the state convinced him that non-violence against apartheid had achieved nothing and could not succeed. However, the reversal in policy to that of reconciliation, which Mandela pursued upon his release in 1990, facilitated a peaceful transition to fully representative democracy in South Africa.

Having received over a hundred awards over four decades, Mandela is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on critical issues. He has become a cultural icon of freedom and equality to many around the world. In South Africa, he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. Many South Africans also refer to him reverently as mkhulu (grandfather).

In the past, as leader of the ANC during its "armed struggle," Mandela attracted condemnation and was a figure of hatred for some groups, particularly among South African whites and opponents of the ANC. The ANC's armed struggle resulted in deaths of innocent civilians, and Mandela has not denied responsibility for such casualties in his role as ANC leader. Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised for his actions, even among white South Africans and former opponents, though not universally. Mandela has written about his "Christian" conviction, and how his actions and attitudes have been informed by his faith, which has sustained him through his years of imprisonment.


Youth and Education

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a small village in the southeastern region of South Africa called the Transkei. His father was chief of the village and a member of the royal family of the Thembu tribe, which spoke the Xhosa language. As a boy, Mandela grew up in the company of tribal elders and chiefs, which gave him a rich sense of African self-government and heritage, despite the cruel treatment of blacks in white-governed South Africa.

Mandela was also deeply influenced by his early education in Methodist church schools. The instruction he received there set Mandela on a path leading away from some African tribal traditions, such as an arranged marriage set up by a tribal elder, which he refused. After being expelled from Fort Hare University College in 1940 for leading a student strike, Mandela obtained a degree from Witwatersrand University. In 1942 he received a degree in law from the University of South Africa.

Joining the ANC

In 1944 Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), a South African political party. Since its founding, the ANC's main goal had been to work to improve conditions and rights for people of color in South Africa. However, its fairly conservative stance had led some members to call for less timid measures. Mandela became one of the ANC's younger and more radical leaders as a member of the ANC's Youth League. He became president of the league in 1951.

The years between 1951 and 1960 were troubled times, both for South Africa and for the ANC. Younger antiapartheid activists (protesters), including Mandela, were coming to the view that nonviolent demonstrations against apartheid did not work, because they allowed the South African government to respond with violence against Africans. Although Mandela was ready to try every possible technique to destroy apartheid peacefully, he began to feel that nonviolent resistance would not change conditions in the end.

In 1952 Mandela's leadership of ANC protest activities led to a nine-month jail sentence. Later, in 1956, he was arrested with other ANC leaders for promoting resistance to South Africa's "pass laws" that prevented blacks from moving freely in the country. Mandela was charged with treason (a crime committed against one's country), but the charges against him and others collapsed in 1961. By this time, however, the South African government had outlawed the ANC. This move followed events at Sharpeville in 1960, when police fired on a crowd of unarmed protesters.

Sharpeville had made it clear that the days of nonviolent resistance were over. In 1961 antiapartheid leaders created a semi-underground (operating illegally) movement called the All-African National Action Council. Mandela was appointed its honorary secretary and later became head of Umkhonto weSizwe (the Spear of the Nation), a militant ANC organization which used sabotage (destruction of property and other tactics used to undermine the government) in its fight against apartheid.

Political Prisoner

In 1962 Mandela was again arrested, this time for leaving South Africa illegally and for inciting strikes. He was sentenced to five years in jail. The following year he was tried with other leaders of Umkhonto weSizwe on a charge of high treason, following a government raid of the group's secret headquarters. Mandela was given a life sentence, which he began serving in the maximum security prison on South Africa's Robben Island.

During the twenty-seven years that Mandela spent in prison, his example of quiet suffering was just one of many pressures on South Africa's apartheid government. Public discussion of Mandela was illegal, and he was allowed few visitors. But as the years dragged on, he was increasingly viewed as a "martyr" (one who suffers for a cause) in South Africa and around the world, making him a symbol of international protests against apartheid.

In 1988 Mandela was hospitalized with an illness, and after his recovery he was returned to prison under somewhat less harsh conditions. By this time, the situation within South Africa was becoming desperate for the ruling white powers. Protest had spread, and international pressures for the end of apartheid were increasing. More and more, South Africa was isolated as a racist state. It was against this backdrop that F. W. de Klerk (1936–), the president of South Africa, finally responded to the calls from around the world to release Mandela.


On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked out of prison. He received joyful welcomes wherever he went around the world. In 1991 he assumed the presidency of the ANC, which had been given legal status again by the government.

Both Mandela and deKlerk realized that only a compromise between whites and blacks could prevent civil war in South Africa. As a result, in late 1991, a multiparty Convention for a Democratic South Africa met to establish a new, democratic government that gave people of all colors rights to determine the country's future. Mandela and deKlerk led the negotiations, and their efforts gained them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In September 1992, the two leaders signed a document that created a freely elected constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution and to act as a transition government (a government that functions temporarily while a new government is being formed). On April 27, 1994, the first free elections open to all South African citizens were held. The ANC won over sixty-two percent of the popular vote, and Mandela was elected president.

Presidency and Retirement

As president, Mandela worked to ease the dangerous political differences in his country and to build up the South African economy. To a remarkable degree he was successful in his aims. Mandela's skill at building compromise and his enormous personal authority helped him lead the transition to democracy. In an effort to help the country heal, he also backed the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which offered amnesty (exemption from criminal prosecution) to those who had committed crimes during the apartheid era. This action helped to promote discussion about the country's history.

Mandela retired in June 1999, choosing not to challenge Thabo Mbeki, his vice president, in elections. Mbeki won the election for the ANC and was inaugurated as president on June 16, 1999. Mandela quickly took on the role of statesman after leaving office, acting that year as a mediator in the peace process in Burundi, where a civil war had led to the killing of thousands.

In late 2001, Mandela joined the outcry against terrorism when he expressed his support for the American bombing of Afghanistan after terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. By January 2002, however, Mandela had modified his support somewhat after South African Muslims criticized him for appearing to be insensitive to the sufferings of the Afghan people. As quoted by the Associated Press, Mandela called his earlier remarks supporting the bombings an "overstatement" and urged caution against prematurely labeling Osama bin Laden, the man suspected of plotting the attacks, as a terrorist.

Nelson Mandela Controversy

Prime Minister Jean Chretien conferred honorary Canadian citizenship on Nelson Mandela in a ceremony Monday, November 19, 2001. Mandela, who is only the second person to ever receive honorary citizenship, was given the honor in recognition of his leadership against apartheid in South Africa. During the ceremony Chretien said, "In your long walk for freedom and justice you led a mighty struggle against fear and ignorance." Mandela has also received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. However the worthiness of the awards and honoree is clear, he doesn't deserve it since while ridding the country of apartheid he introduced it to abortion on demand and homosexual benefits.

In 1996, President Nelson Mandela signed South Africa's new abortion bill, clearing the way for one of the world's toughest abortion laws to be replaced with one of the most liberal. The law gives girls of any age the sole right to decide whether to have an abortion. Passage of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill was assured since Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) refused its members a free vote on the issue of providing state-funded abortion on demand. Mandela's new constitution finalized in 1996 made South Africa the first country to place "sexual orientation" alongside race and religion as a restricted grounds for discrimination.

Nelson Mandela a Heretic Against the Natural Law

The natural law is written on the heart of all men, so that all men know that certain things are against God's law and that certain things are in accordance with the natural law of charity, etc.

The natural law is the law that every person knows by instinct from birth. It is planted by the Creator in our heart, and everyone – even pagans who have never heard about God or the true religion – receive this gift from God. Examples of sins that break the natural law and that are easy to recognize are: murder, homosexuality, rape, theft, pedophilia, slander, lying, and so on. The conscience always convicts a person who does these things and thus there can never be an excuse for people who commit such sins.

As the Haydock Bible and Commentary correctly explains about Romans 2:14-16,

"these men are a law to themselves, and have it written in their hearts, as to the existence of a God, and their reason tells them, that many sins are unlawful: they may also do some actions that are morally good, as by giving alms to relieve the poor, honoring their parents, etc. not that these actions, morally good, will suffice for their justification of themselves, or make them deserve a supernatural reward in the kingdom of heaven; but God, out of His infinite mercy, will give them some supernatural graces which if they continue to cooperate with they will get more graces and eventually be exposed to the Catholic Faith, which they must have to be saved."

For example, if a person were to hold that man does not have free will (which some Protestants teach), this person would be a heretic because he is rejecting a truth which all know to be true from the natural law, namely, that man has a free will. Thus, he is denying a truth all know about man from the natural law and he is a heretic.

Another example would be if a person refuses to believe that God is a rewarder and a punisher. This person is a heretic because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions (see Heb. 11:6).

A large majority of Protestants today believe in the doctrines of "faith alone" and "eternal security." These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. This person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.

Other common heresies against the natural law and that is easy to recognize is to deny the existence of God; to hold that abortion is acceptable; to hold that birth control or natural family planning (also called NFP) is acceptable; or to hold that the consuming of mind altering drugs to the point where the conscience is impeded is acceptable etc. To hold any of these positions would make a person a heretic against the natural law because he is rejecting a truth which all know to be true from the natural law, namely, 1) that God exists, 2) that abortion is murder, 3) that contraception or NFP deliberately frustrates the natural power to generate life, and 4) that the consuming mind altering drugs, such as smoking marijuana, is a mortal sin just like getting drunk is.
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