Length: 890 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)
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South-Africa was settled by Dutch spaking whites, the boers, in the seventeenth century. Later they were followed by the British, who they several times fought against to keep the power. In 1948 the white people felt that the bladks threatened their position, so the national party, that has formed all the governments since then, introduced the policy of apartheid. Apartheid is a term that originally is Dutch and means separation. The system was in practice used to retain the white minority's economical, political and cultural supremacy. There came new laws that devided the population into white, black, coloured and Asian groups. the foundation of apartheid was already made when the first European settlers came to South-Africa, and since then the suppressed have been fighting to abolish it. Maybe the most famous opponent of the apartheid regime throughout the years have been Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. He went to college to study law in1938, but already two years later he was expelled because he participated in a student strike. Luckily Mandela got a job at daytime so he could study in the evenings, and in 1942 he received his university degree. Mandela has been politically involved since he was a teenager, nad already as a twentysix year old he started his political career in the African National congress - ANC (Black people established the African National Congress in 1912 to fight against apartheid and for civil disobedience). Nelson early became one of the most important leaders in the party because ofhis strong opposition against aparheid. Mandela was jailed for the first time in 1952 for having arrranged a peaceful civil rights campaign. This demonstration did no change any of the apartheid laws, but the work wasnt useless. When some got arrested, others came to take the arresteds place. the number of members in ANC rose from 10000 to 100000. The racial discrimination created a special concord among all the people that was called "non-white". The campaign got attention also internationally. The participants dicipøine, their self sacrificing work and relationship to eachother was noticed all over the world. After a while Nelson Mandela was considered South-Africa's national foregrounds-figure in international media. ANC was banned in 1960 because the party opposed strongly to white supremacy. Mandela was forced to work underground, but he managed to travel abroad to obtain support and understanding. He turned up in the most unexpected places, and even had speeches at big conferences.
Because of his daring actions, he was called "The Black Pimpernell". After debates the illegal party,ANC, established a new, violent group in their party, - "Umkhonto We Sizwe". Nelson Mandela was appointed the leader position. It was not an easy decision whether to use violence or not. Some doubted if it was the right time to start this movement. Mandela was in strong favour for the new arrangement, but it bothered him that his own experiences with 20 years of disciplined non-violence had been wasted. In August 1962 he was disguised in the uniform of a chauffeur for a good friend. Their car was stopped by a police road block, and the country's most wanted man was caught. The police was prpared, and knew what car they were going to stop, so its most likely that a member in ANC was paid to inform against the leader. Nelson decided to defend himself and his people in court. Media from all over the world was present, and Mandela saw the chance he had to explain why ANC's struggle against the apartheid system was fair. The risk of life imprisonment was there, so this could be his last chance. Mandela stated that if necessary, he was prepared to die for his ideal. Some days later Mandela and other black leaders werw sentenced to life imprisonment, charged with conspiracy against the state. Over one hundred countries in UN asked for their acquittal. There were demonstrations all over the world, and Mandela was a hero and a freedom champion. Different projects were put up throughout the world to free Nelson, but everything seemed impossible. During the twentyseventh years he spent in prison, his wife ,Winnie, and his daughter, Zeni, spoke in his place. President Botha considered to release Mandela (1985) if he promised to keep a distance from ANC and their work. Nelson sent a letter to his daughter that she read in public, to answer Bothas , where he stated that he was and would always be a representative for the people and their organization. South-Africa's economic situation was so weak (in 1990)because of sanctions from the outside world,that the president, Frederik W. de Klerk, decided to release Mandela. He also promised a gradual wind-up of the apartheid system. Nelson's important place in the liberation struggle has influenced the abolition of apartheid a great deal. He made all the difference because he rose international interests because of his demonstrations, speeches and campaigns. He didnt give up the fight while he was in prison, and he was ready to die for his belief. He persuaded the black people to continue to fight for their rights. Now when aparheid is abolished, Mandela's fight for equal rights goes on. Mandela's fight for equal rights goes on. The old system is gone, but there is still bad housing conditions, education, unequal franchise and bad public health services. Mandela diddnt give up beore, and he will not now!