Today in History: Nelson Mandela Is Inaugurated

| May 10, 2019

Mandela_voting_in_1994On May 10, 1994, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013), leader of the African National Congress, was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa. He was the first fully, democratically elected president in his country, and he held office as President of South Africa until June 16th, 1999.

A lawyer by profession, Mandela dedicated his life to nonviolent forms of protest, including strikes, boycotts, marches and other acts of civil disobedience. Known as the Black Pimpernel, he went underground in 1961 and served two lesser prison sentences in Pretoria. In 1964, he was convicted along with many others in the Rivonia Trial that investigated 199 counts, reduced to 193, of sabotage. As prisoner number 466/66 on Robbin Island, Mandela spent 18 years laboring in a quarry and living without water or a bed in his cell.  In 1982 he was transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison in Capetown, and six years later to a cottage at Victor Version Prison near Paarl where he was placed under house arrest. In 1989 President F.W. De Klerk  ordered the Mandela’s release.

Nelson Mandela and former President F.W. De Klerk’s were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their combined efforts to dismantle the country’s system of apartheid that favored whites and mandated racial segregation.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

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