Nelson Mandela: His politics, apartheid and prison life

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To the average person, Nelson Mandela is remembered as a political leader who eventually was president of his homeland of South Africa. However, behind his seemingly ever smiling face, lied a life of struggles and injustice. Before Mandela could become the great leader that he was, he endured numerous trials and tribulations.

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Mandela was born in 1918, at Mvezo, and into a royal family of the Thembu people of the Xhosa nation. His father was a chief of Mvezo, however his untimely death when Mandela was 9, left Mandela to be greatly influenced by the regent. Growing up as part of a tribe, it greatly affected Mandela’s views which were shaped by custom, ritual and taboo. Mandela was in and out of schools, jobs and homes all throughout his childhood and even into his early adult life. Because of this nomad type of living in his young years, he got to know many different types of people from different tribes, who possible had different social and/or political views. This in turn would shape Mandela’s social and political views, as well as his view on the world. This paper argues that Mandela’s experiences at Healdtown helped to shape his cultural and moral values and his time at Fort Hare helped to shape his political values, all aiding to the development of the great political leader that he one day would become.

When Mandela was about 19 years old, following his rigorous experiences at Clarkebury Mandela enrolled in the Wesleyan College in Fort Beaufort, Healdtown. His time here certainly influenced his cultural view of his own tribe as well as other’s tribes. The first instance occurs when Mandela made [his] first Sotho-speaking friend, Zachariah Molete and he remembered feeling quite bold having a friend who was not Xhosa (37). Mandela never knew that the possibility of making not friendships outside of his own tribe even existed before attending Healdtown. However, by interacting with people outside of his native tribe, Mandela began to sense his identity as an African, not just a Thembu or even a Xhosa (38). These examples show how Mandela’s time at Healdtown led him to broaden his cultural horizons and shape his new cultural views and which in turn would contribute the great political leader he became.

In addition to making a friend outside of his tribe at Healdtown,

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