Early Political Career: Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1944 and Formed the ANC Youth League. He rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through his work the ANC adopted in 1949 a more radical policy, the Programme of Action. He was arrested on 5 December 1955 along with 156 other activists and was acquitted on 29 March 1961. The ANC and the Pan African Congress were banned on 8 April 1960 after police killed 69 unarmed protesters, leading to a state of emergency. Nelson Mandela was among thousands detained during this period. In 1962, he left the country secretly to gain support from the rest of Africa and ENgland. On 27 May 1963 he was charged with leaving the country illegally and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. On 11 June 1964 Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent back to Robben Island.
Leaving Robben Island: President FW de Klerk unbanned the African National Congress Party on the 2 February 1990. Mandela was released from Robben Island Prison and it was broadcast around the world. When he was released he gave a speech to the country and said he wanted to find peace and reconcile with the white people of South Africa. He defended the formation of the ANC military and said it was just a defensive action against the apartheid. “Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.” - (Mandela after being released). His goal was to bring peace to the black people of South Africa and give them the right to vote in all elections.
Election: On 2nd February 1990 the African National Congress was unbanned and on the 11th, Mandela was released from prison. On 2nd March 1990, Mandela was elected as ANC deputy. On 9th May 1994, he was elected by parliament as the first president of a democratic South Africa. This came from the first free elections where black people could vote on the 26th April 1994. The ANC won 252 out of 400 seats.
Career as President: Mandela was inaugurated as the first black President of South Africa in May 1994 and formed a racially mixed government. He wanted to create a safe society for all South Africans, where no one was discriminated and encouraged black South Africans to support the Springboks who they previously hated because the white supported it. Mandela instigated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa in 1995 which investigated human rights violations under apartheid. He introduced housing, education and economic development to improve the living standards of the black South Africans. In 1996, he oversaw the making of the a new democratic constitution. He retired in 1999 and Thabo Mbeki became President.
- The Life and TImes of Nelson Mandela http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography [11/03/2013]
- Biography: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, http://africanhistory.about.com/od/mandelanelson/a/bio_mandela.htm, [11/03/2013]
- Nelson Mandela Timeline, http://www.history-timelines.org.uk/people-timelines/11-nelson-mandela-timeline.htm, [11/03/2013]
- Mandela: South African Politician, http://blog.credoreference.com/2011/02/nelson-mandela-south-african-politician/, [11/03/2013]
- Nelson Mandela-Encyclopaedia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/361645/Nelson-Mandela/282997/Presidency-and-retirement [14/03/2013]