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Achievements of Nelson Mandela Research Paper


Abstract

World leaders have hailed Nelson Mandela as “the greatest and most courageous leader of our generation”. In a life of personal surrender, Mandela dedicated himself to the resistance against apartheid in South Africa, a period that ended with the country’s first multi-racial elections on 27 April 1994.

During these elections, the Africa National Congress won with a landslide and, as the leader of the party, Nelson Mandela was installed as South Africa’s first Black President on 10 May 1994. He proceeded to form a Government of National Unity, before retiring after only one term of office in 1999.

Having fought so hard to secure the country’s freedom, many people expected him to cling to power like other African leaders but his decision to step down baffled both friend and foe alike. Well past 90 years now, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela continues to stand as an inspiration to people throughout South Africa, the African continent, and the world.

World leaders have hailed Nelson Mandela as “the greatest and most courageous leader of our generation” (BBC News). In a life of personal surrender, Mandela dedicated himself to the resistance against apartheid in South Africa, a period that ended with the country’s first multi-racial elections on 27 April 1994.

During these elections, the Africa National Congress won with a landslide and, as the leader of the party, Nelson Mandela was installed as South Africa’s first Black President on 10 May 1994. He proceeded to form a Government of National Unity, before retiring after only one term of office in 1999. Having fought so hard to secure the country’s freedom, many people expected him to cling to power like other African leaders but his decision to step down baffled both friend and foe alike (Joffe 272).

Indeed, Nelson Mandela is believed to have honed his leadership skills from a very tender age. While at the age of only 10 years, Mandela was appointed the chief counselor to the acting paramount chief of Thembuland, David Dalindyepo. The position, which was passed down to Mandela after the death of his father who had initially held the position, saw him being groomed as a future leader. In fact, political analysts believe that it was this grooming that led Mandela to become a great political leader in his later years (Mandela 4).

After the completion of his secondary education at Wesleyan High School, Mandela joined Fort Hare University College to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. After attaining his BA, he enrolled for a masters program in law. It was during his law years that the youthful Mandela made his initial forays into politics, joining the little known African National Congress. Upon joining the party, Mandela’s leadership skills were immediately recognized and he was elected as one of the party leaders.

Under the leadership of Anton Lambede, Mandela helped in transforming the ANC into a movement with a more radical agenda rooted in the principles of self-determination. Indeed, it was this self-determination principle adopted by Mandela and the entire ANC leadership that finally saw South Africa gain independence in 1994 (Guiloineau & Rowe 13).

During the 1950’s, Mandela opened the first South Africa’s black law-firm in Johannesburg thus earning himself the respect of the international community. In June 1964, Mandela along seven others was handed a life sentence for treason and was consequently imprisoned in the notorious Robben Island Prison.

Mandela was to remain on this island for 18 long years but the incarceration did not dampen his spirit or influence within South Africa. During his incarceration, Mandela rejected countless offers of freedom in return for acknowledging political compromises that would dismantle the apartheid system (Waldmeir 33).

In 1991, Mandela was released from prison and he immediately embarked on his earlier quest for a free South Africa. Two years later, the international community recognized his efforts by awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to free his country from colonial rule.

Three years after being released from detention, Mandela was elected as the first black South African president inheriting a country that had been polarized by many years of oppressive rule. Within the five years that he was in power, President Mandela oversaw the transition from minority rule thus gaining international admiration for his pursuit of national healing and reconciliation (Waldmeir 35).

Even after his retirement, Mandela has been on the forefront in trying to bring world leaders together to seek solutions to conflicts around the globe. Well past 90 years now, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela continues to stand as an inspiration to people throughout South Africa, the African continent, and the world.

Works Cited

BBC News. Mandela’s Life and Times, January 28, 2011. Web.

Guiloineau, Jean, & Rowe, Joseph. Nelson Mandela: The Early Life of Rolihlahla Madiba. London: North Atlantic Books, 2002. 13. Print.

Joffe, Joel. The State vs. Nelson Mandela. New York: One World Publications, 2007. 272-273. Print.

Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom. Johannesburg: Little, Brown and Company, 1994. 4-5. Print.

Waldmeir, Patti. Anatomy of a Miracle: The End of Apartheid and the Birth of a New South Africa. London: Viking, 1997. 33-36. Print

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Achievements of Nelson Mandela." May 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/achievements-of-nelson-mandela-research-paper/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Achievements of Nelson Mandela'. 1 May.

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