The message behind Mandela Day is simple — everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better.
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The baton of leadership has been handed over to us. It is in our hands now to make a positive difference. We need to place the eradication of poverty at the top of world priorities. We need to know with a fresh conviction that we all share a common humanity and that our diversity in the world is the strength for our future together. Poverty stalks South Africa. It is at the root of malnutrition, stunting, poor educational outcomes, the skills deficit and unemployment, disease, the loss of dignity, and even anger and violence.
We have to take action against poverty, and we have to work together to do that. Each of us can make every day a Mandela Day by choosing to do something sustainable that will help South Africa eradicate poverty and ensure we each realise the ideal of a dignified life.
Mandela was arrested in a countrywide police swoop on 5 December , which led to the Treason Trial. Men and women of all races found themselves in the dock in the marathon trial that only ended when the last 28 accused, including Mandela, were acquitted on 29 March On 21 March police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest in Sharpeville against the pass laws. Mandela and his colleagues in the Treason Trial were among thousands detained during the state of emergency.
During the trial Mandela married a social worker, Winnie Madikizela, on 14 June They had two daughters, Zenani and Zindziswa. The couple divorced in Days before the end of the Treason Trial, Mandela travelled to Pietermaritzburg to speak at the All-in Africa Conference, which resolved that he should write to Prime Minister Verwoerd requesting a national convention on a non-racial constitution, and to warn that should he not agree there would be a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic.
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After he and his colleagues were acquitted in the Treason Trial, Mandela went underground and began planning a national strike for 29, 30 and 31 March. In the face of massive mobilisation of state security the strike was called off early. In June he was asked to lead the armed struggle and helped to establish Umkhonto weSizwe Spear of the Nation , which launched on 16 December with a series of explosions.
He travelled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He was charged with leaving the country without a permit and inciting workers to strike.
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He was convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment, which he began serving at the Pretoria Local Prison. Within a month police raided Liliesleaf, a secret hideout in Rivonia, Johannesburg, used by ANC and Communist Party activists, and several of his comrades were arrested. On 9 October Mandela joined 10 others on trial for sabotage in what became known as the Rivonia Trial.
While facing the death penalty his words to the court at the end of his famous "Speech from the Dock" on 20 April became immortalised:. Goldberg was sent to Pretoria Prison because he was white, while the others went to Robben Island. He was not allowed to attend their funerals. Kathrada joined them in October. When he returned to the prison in November after prostate surgery, Mandela was held alone. Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee visited him in hospital.
Later Mandela initiated talks about an ultimate meeting between the apartheid government and the ANC. On 12 August he was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After more than three months in two hospitals he was transferred on 7 December to a house at Victor Verster Prison near Paarl where he spent his last 14 months of imprisonment.
Biography of Nelson Mandela
He was released from its gates on Sunday 11 February , nine days after the unbanning of the ANC and the PAC and nearly four months after the release of his remaining Rivonia comrades. Throughout his imprisonment he had rejected at least three conditional offers of release. Mandela immersed himself in official talks to end white minority rule and in was elected ANC President to replace his ailing friend, Oliver Tambo.
True to his promise, Mandela stepped down in after one term as President. Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life is an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived; and to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.