1942 started Nelson Mandela’s participation in the racial oppression in South Africa. He joined the African National Congress (ANC), led by Anton Lembede. In 1944, Mandela joined up with Walter Sisulu, William Nkomo, Oliver R. Tambo, and Ashby P. Mda to form the African National Congress Youth League. Quickly, Mandela became the secretary of the ANCYL in 1947 because of his consistent effort and disciplined work. In 1949 the Programme of Action was accepted as authorized ANC policy. The Programme of Action supported boycott, strike, civil disobedience, and non-co-operation. Nelson Mandela became the president of the ANCYL in 1952. “Under his leadership the ANC began sponsoring nonviolent protests, strikes, boycotts, marches, and other acts of civil disobedience and in the process becoming a target to police harassment and arrest.” This came to be known as the Defiance Campaign. This marked the beginning of mass resistance to apartheid. In 1959 a small group of ANC members broke off and started their own group called the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). And on March 21, 1960, 20,000 PAC protesters left there homes without passes and joined together in Sharpeville. The police, thinking that the group would become unfriendly, opened fire on the protesters. Sixty-Nine Blacks were killed and another 186 were wounded. After this attack, the South African Government outlawed the ANC and PAC organizations. But this would not stop Mandela and his companions from fighting the apartheid. In 1961 Mandela helped establish the ANC’s military wing, known as the Umkhonto we Sizwe -Spear of the Nation-, also known as the M-plan or MK plan named after Mandela himself. He was named its commander in chief and was sent to Algeria for military training. In that time 200 acts of sabotage took place.
When he returned in 1962, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for illegal ...
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...ed on majority rule. Mandela would lead South Africa as its president until 1999 when he stepped down and Thabo Mbeki was selected president.
Mandela worked his way up through the ranks of the ANC and ANCYL, leading the anti-apartheid movement. What he accomplished while in the ANCYL and in prison changed the way that South Africa is today. Without Mandela blacks would still only be able to use certain bathrooms and would only be able to go in certain places designated for them. This 55-year journey from the African National Congress, to prison, and finally to becoming president and winning the Nobel Peace Prize has made Nelson Mandela a living legend. But in the words of Nelson Mandela himself,
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended. (pg.625)
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