July 18, 1918, was the day when a great Black anti-apartheid revolutionist, philanthropist, and a true politician was born. Nelson Mandela was the first Black president of South Africa, who served the country for five years after going through lifelong political trauma. He was a symbol of a global peacemaker who won a Noble Peace Prize in 1993.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in the small village of Mvezo, situated on the banks of the beautiful Mbashe River in Transkei in South Africa. “Rolihlahla” is a word from the Xhosa language that means “pulling the branch of the tree,” but it is mostly used as a “troublemaker.” Mandela’s father served as a counselor to the tribal chiefs for many years but lost his job after Mandela’s birth. This scenario forced his parents to move their family to Qunu, which was even a smaller village than Mvezo. Mandela was lucky to get baptized at local Church, and he was the first child in the family to attend a school. But somehow due to the bias attitude of the British educational system of South Africa, his teacher gave him a new name as Nelson.
At the age of nine, Mandela’s father died due to lung cancer, causing a drastic change in his life. He was then adopted by the chief of Thembu people, who did this favor just to consolidate the services of Mandela’s father. Mandela than left Qunu and traveled to Mqhekezweni, the provincial capital of Thembuland to stay at the Chief’s royal residence but from inside he missed his small hometown Qunu. After a while, Mandela started his school with the other two children of the Regent. He learned English, history, Xhosa, and geography but soon developed a strong interest in African history.
In 1939, Mandela started his professional education and enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, which was considered equivalent to Harvard and Oxford Universities. From here, the political life of Mandela started where he went through a lot of ups and downs, saw imprisonment for many years, got involved in the anti-apartheid movement, got charged with treason and saw lash back from his people. But certainly hard work pays off some day, and on April 27, 1994, South Africa’s democratic elections took place. The day was lucky for him, as on May 10, 1994, he got elected as the first Black president of South Africa.