Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Madiba!!

By Kailene Pillay

18 July, 93 years ago, a distinguished leader, father and friend was born. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a little village Mvezo located in the district of Umtata. Christened as Rolihlahla at birth, which means "troublemaker", his English name Nelson was given to him by his teacher.
Mandela was the first person in his family to attend school. He furthered his studies at Fort Hare University which is the place he met lifelong friend Oliver Tambo. Later in his life, he studied Bachelor of Laws while in prison.

After the 1948 election, Mandela became actively involved in politics. In this time he also started a law firm with fellow lawyer Oliver Tambo, providing free or low cost legal counsel.
He was committed to non-violence resistence, aka: Satyagraha- influenced by Mahatma Ghandi. Mandela along with 150 others were arrested on 5 December 1956 for treason which later became well known as the Treason Trial.

Mandela has been in and out of prison, Robben Island being the longest where he remained there for 18 of his 27 years in prison. It was in prison that he became known as the most significant black leader in the country.

Friederik Willem de Klerk, President of South Africa at the time, announced the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990. In that same month, de Klerk reversed the ban on the ANC and other anti-aparthied organisations. Between 1990 and 1994 Mandela led the country to their first multi-racial election.

Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa on 10 May1994.

His humanitarian efforts do not go unnoticed. Mandela is a not only a political leader and freedom fighter, but also a human rights activist. He holds dear to him the education of children, the building of schools in rural areas and HIV/AIDS campaigns to name a few. Mandela day is focused on broadening humanitarian work. A particular humanitarian project which is close to Madiba's heart is the Nelson Mandela's Children Fund which started in 1995.

Mandela, known lovingly as 'Tata Madiba' by the people of the world, is one of the greatest, most significant, honest, loyal and hard working men of our time. We celebrate this special day with him by giving our time to the less fortunate. This day is dedicated to do good, just as Tata Madiba has taught us. This day is a hope to inspire people to embrace the values that Mandela shared.

The Art for Humanity team would like to wish Mr Nelson Mandela a very happy 93rd Birthday and our blessings and good wishes upon him, always.

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