Remembering the life of Nelson Mandela

Thousands of people attended Mandela’s vigil. PHOTO - GERRY KAHRMANN/VANCOUVER SUN

Thousands of people attended Mandela’s vigil.

Written by Tracy Defoe
Level 3

People in Canada, and around the world remembered the life of Nelson Mandela in December 2013. He was a hero to many people for the way he lead his life.

Mandela was devoted to democracy, equality and learning. He was a leader for change in his country. He inspired many people around the world.

Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918. At that time, South Africa was a separated society. People of different races did not live together as equals.  This racist policy was called apartheid.

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Nelson Mandela was known by many names. His parents named him Rolihlahla Mandela. They were from the Madiba clan. Many South Africans called him Madiba.  At school Mandela’s teachers called him Nelson. Nelson became his English name.

As a student Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) and fought against apartheid.  The ANC was banned as anti-government. He was in prison from 1962 to 1990.

Canada was a leader in calling for Nelson Mandela to be released from prison.  Mandela came to Canada soon after his release from prison.  Our government invited him to speak in Parliament, and made him a Canadian citizen.

After his release from prison, Nelson Mandela turned his attention to ending apartheid and bringing freedom and peace to South Africa.

In 1993 Nelson Mandela and South African President FW de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize together for ending the apartheid period in South Africa.

Mandela’s friend, Desmond Tutu, the Anglican church Archbishop of South Africa was also a social activist for peace and justice in South Africa.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa.  He voted that year for the first time ever in his life.

World Cup
In 1995, President Mandela asked the South African rugby team, the Springboks, to unite the country and win the world cup as host country. They did.  In 2013, when South Africa hosted the soccer world cup, Mandela was in the stadium.