41 Facts About Nelson Mandela

1. Nelson Mandela needs little introduction; South Africa's first black president, Nobel Prize winner and anti-apartheid icon.

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2. Nelson Mandela married his third wife, Graca Machel, on his 80th birthday in July 1998.

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3. Nelson Mandela was very self-conscious about being a man and regularly made references to manhood.

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4. Nelson Mandela was widely considered a charismatic leader, described by biographer Mary Benson as "a born mass leader who could not help magnetizing people".

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5. Nelson Mandela was influenced by Marxism, and during the revolution he advocated scientific socialism.

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6. Nelson Mandela took political ideas from other thinkers—among them Indian independence leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, African-American civil rights activists, and African nationalists like Nkrumah—and applied them to the South African situation.

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7. Nelson Mandela was a practical politician, rather than an intellectual scholar or political theorist.

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8. In September 2013, Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital, although his condition remained unstable.

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9. In February 2011, Nelson Mandela was briefly hospitalised with a respiratory infection, attracting international attention, before being re-admitted for a lung infection and gallstone removal in December 2012.

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10. In 2004, Nelson Mandela successfully campaigned for South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, declaring that there would be "few better gifts for us" in the year marking a decade since the fall of apartheid.

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11. In a speech marking the event, Nelson Mandela called for the rich to help the poor across the world.

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12. Nelson Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, in a speech delivered on his 89th birthday.

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13. Nelson Mandela encouraged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to resign over growing human rights abuses in the country.

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14. Nelson Mandela stepped down as ANC President at the party's December 1997 conference.

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15. Nelson Mandela proposed that they be tried in a third country, which was agreed to by all parties; governed by Scots law, the trial was held at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in April 1999, and found one of the two men guilty.

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16. In September 1998, Nelson Mandela was appointed Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, who held their annual conference in Durban.

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17. Nelson Mandela expressed the view that "South Africa's future foreign relations [should] be based on our belief that human rights should be the core of international relations".

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18. Nelson Mandela personally met with senior figures of the apartheid regime, including Hendrik Verwoerd's widow, Betsie Schoombie, and lawyer Percy Yutar, laying a wreath by the statue of Afrikaner hero Daniel Theron.

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19. In December 1994, Nelson Mandela published Long Walk to Freedom, an autobiography based around a manuscript he had written in prison, augmented by interviews conducted with American journalist Richard Stengel.

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20. Nelson Mandela headed a Government of National Unity dominated by the ANC—which had no experience of governing by itself—but containing representatives from the National Party and Inkatha.

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21. Nelson Mandela devoted much time to fundraising for the ANC, touring North America, Europe and Asia to meet wealthy donors, including former supporters of the apartheid regime.

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22. Nelson Mandela met with Inkatha leader Buthelezi, but the ANC prevented further negotiations on the issue.

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23. On 13 April 1992, Nelson Mandela publicly announced his separation from Winnie.

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24. Nelson Mandela was given an office in the newly purchased ANC headquarters at Shell House, Johannesburg, and moved into Winnie's large Soweto home.

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25. Nelson Mandela impressed them with his discussions of Afrikaner history, and the negotiations led to the Groot Schuur Minute, in which the government lifted the state of emergency.

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26. In May 1990, Nelson Mandela led a multiracial ANC delegation into preliminary negotiations with a government delegation of 11 Afrikaner men.

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27. Nelson Mandela requested talks with Botha but was denied, instead secretly meeting with Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee in 1987, and having a further 11 meetings over the next three years.

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28. Nelson Mandela spurned the offer, releasing a statement through his daughter Zindzi stating, "What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people [ANC] remains banned? Only free men can negotiate.

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29. In March 1980, the slogan "Free Nelson Mandela!" was developed by journalist Percy Qoboza, sparking an international campaign that led the UN Security Council to call for his release.

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30. Nelson Mandela obtained work as an attorney for the firm Terblanche and Briggish, before moving to the liberal-run Helman and Michel, passing qualification exams to become a full-fledged attorney.

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31. Nelson Mandela took Xuma's place on the ANC national executive in March 1950, and that same year was elected national president of the ANCYL.

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32. Nelson Mandela disagreed with Mda's approach, and in December 1947 supported an unsuccessful measure to expel communists from the ANCYL, considering their ideology un-African.

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33. Nelson Mandela enjoyed home life, welcoming his mother and his sister, Leabie, to stay with him.

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34. In 1943, Nelson Mandela met Anton Lembede, an ANC member affiliated with the "Africanist" branch of African nationalism, which was virulently opposed to a racially united front against colonialism and imperialism or to an alliance with the communists.

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35. At the firm, Nelson Mandela befriended Gaur Radebe—a Xhosa member of the ANC and Communist Party—and Nat Bregman, a Jewish communist who became his first white friend.

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36. Nelson Mandela found work as a night watchman at Crown Mines, his "first sight of South African capitalism in action", but was fired when the induna discovered that he was a runaway.

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37. One of Ngubengcuka's sons, named Nelson Mandela, was Nelson's grandfather and the source of his surname.

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38. Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of South Africa's Cape Province.

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39. Nelson Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life.

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40. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison.

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41. Nelson Mandela was appointed President of the ANC's Transvaal branch, rising to prominence for his involvement in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People.

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