Nelson Mandela, Transvaal President and Deputy President of the banned ANC, was born in Umtata 46 years ago, the son of a prominent chief. In his early life he was fascinated with his people’s history and culture. After matriculating he went to Fort Hare where he was drawn into student politics. When Mandela was told that a marriage had been arranged for him at home, he fled to Johannesburg in 191. There he met Walter Sisulu, who introduced him to a legal to which Mandela became articled. His white employer helped Mandela to become an attorney. Mandela believed that Africans in South Africa were one people as far as their interests and destiny were concerned. And in 1944 he joined the African National Congress. With Oliver Tambo and others, he founded the vigorous ANC Youth League. Tambo and Mandela eventually went into legal practice s partners in their our firm. In 1952, Mandela became Transvaal President of the ANC under Chief Albert Luthuli, a man he much admired. Since then his life has been a succession of arrests, bans and terms in jail. He was held as an organiser of the Defiance Campaign, he was called upon to resign from Congress, he was confined to Johannesburg, prohibited from gatherings and, in effect, silenced. In 1961 he went underground. Early in 1962 Mandela left the country and toured Africa before before visiting England where he met the late Hugh Gaitskell, then leader of the Labour Party, and Jo Grimond, Liberal Party leader. On his return to South Africa he was jailed for five years for leaving the country without a passport and inciting people to strike. He is the No 1 accused in the Rivonia Trial. Twice married, Mandela has five children. His second wife, Winnie, daughter of Transkei Minister of Agriculture Columbus Madikizela, shares his dedication. She is prohibited from attending gatherings and confined to Johannesburg. Story taken from Drum Magazine June 1964 Â©BAHA
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