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Nelson Mandela: 'the Original Gangsta'

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Nelson Mandela: 'The Original Gangsta'

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die…”

~Nelson Mandela

These powerful words were spoken by a man, unafraid of the results of acting on his beliefs. These words, spoken from the dock at the opening of the defense case at the Pretoria Supreme Court on April 20, 1964, left a deep footprint in South African history, which has weathered the elements for years on end.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a village located near Umtata in the Transkei territory of South Africa, the country, on July 18th, 1918. His father, Henry Mgalda Mandela, was the Chief Councilor to Thembuland’s acting Paramount Chief, David Dalindyebo. This position made his father one of the chiefs of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu people. When his father died, instead of taking his place, Mandela prepared himself for a legal career by attending South African Native College, which is now deemed as the University of Fort Hare. He studied law by correspondence, or by mail, at Witwatersrand University and received a law degree in 1942 from the University of South Africa at the age of 24. That same year, Mandela, along with his friend’s aid, opened the first black law partnership in all of South Africa, in Soweto, which is now a part of Johannesburg. He also entered into politics, which had been his aim, while studying in Johannesburg by joining the African National Congress (ANC) in 1942 in addition to his opening of the partnership. The ANC wished for equality among all races, which was a controversial issue, and lead open resistance to the government. A handful of members from the ANC, including Mandela, banded together under the conduction of Anton Lembede, at the climax of World War II. These young people put in front of themselves the treacherous task of transforming the ANC into a mass movement, gaining its strength from the millions of working class people of the town and countryside, the peasants, and other professionals. Their only complaint about the original ANC had been that their actions consisted of polite petitioning and other forms of �nice practices’ to get the job done, and didn’t really have much of an effect, which didn’t fit these persons agendas very nicely. In opposition of the old ways of the ANC, these people, under the leadership of Lembede formed the African National Congress Youth League in September 1944, which allowed them the liberty of taking their own radical steps towards the reformation of government.

Mandela worked his way up the ranks, impressing his peers this way and that, to become Secretary of the Youth League in 1947. Through their outstanding work, the youth league managed to make a difference when their “Programme of Actions” was adapted to the original

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