In this part of my Coursework I am going to describe the major turning points in Nelson Mandela’s life. I believe that there are three major turning points in his life which I am going to write about in the following articles that you shall read. These are Joining the ANC, His turn to violence and His release from prison. Nelson Mandela joined a group called the ANC, when he did this I believe it altered his life so I am going to call it a major turning point in his life. The ANC was an organisation that went against the way of the whites in South Africa.
They stood up against the whites so the black people in South Africa could be free. The name ANC was the short hand name of the ‘African National Congress’. Nelson Mandela first attended an ANC meeting 1942. He did this a year before he actually joined the ANC in 1943. Mandela was taken to the ANC meeting by a man who went by the name of Oliver Tambo. The two of them also later set up a law firm in Johannesburg. Mandela thought the ANC’s approach to the white government was not direct enough. He thought that they should be more in their face as the black people in South Africa out numbered the whites five to one!
After a while Mandela and Tambo set up the ANCYL, (The African nation Congress Youth League). This branch of the ANC was a more violent and direct part of the ANC. Mandela’s contribution to the ANC was publicity. He made sure that the people of South Africa and the rest of the world knew the ANC and what was going on in South Africa. Mandela joining the ANC was a major turning point because if he had not of joined the ANC then he may not have gone to prison. Joining the ANC was his first step towards his time I prison.
We do not know if he would have gone to prison if he had not joined the ANC but what we do know is that he did go to prison after he joined the ANC. Nelson Mandela turned to violence later on in his campaign for free rights for blacks and so this is I think a major turning point. Mandela finally believed that the only way they could beat the whites was to turn violent like them. He learned this after the incident at Sharpeville. Sharpeville was a village where there was a peaceful protest against the ‘pass laws’ which then turned very violent. Some believe that it was a massacre and some believe that it was self defence.
Either way, this was Mandela’s wake up call when he finally decided to turn to violence. Mandela helped se up the MK, which in its African name goes ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’, which means ‘Spear of the Nation’. Mandela had been given the nickname the ‘Black Pimpernel’ because he would move around South Africa with different disguises and not get caught by the police. He was then arrested on his way back to Johannesburg when he was disguised as a chauffer. When Mandela did escape out of South Africa he spread the news of what was happening in and around South Africa.
He managed to get a lot of support from the people of Africa. Mandela’s turn to violence was a turning point because this was the reason why he was arrested, trialled and sent to Robben Island for five years hard labour. If this did not happen then we may never have recognised the name Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and he would not be a great icon as he is today. Another turning point in his life is when he was released from prison and became president. Nelson Mandela was a great icon around the world when he was released. He was seen as a great man who stood up for what he believed in and stood by his word.
Mandela was greeted by the press as soon as he returned from Robben Island. While he was in prison the protests did not halt. In fact it was the complete opposite. When he was in prison he also had a visit from F W de Klerk who asked him to call off the protests and he will be released from prison. . The protests did not only happen in South Africa but around the world. Many people wore a t-shirt with a picture of his face on in recognition of his appeal for equal rights. When Mandela was released he did not show any violence towards the white Afrikaans.
He seemed calm and glad to out of prison. When Mandela got out of prison he was elected for as President of the ANC and President of South Africa. He pressed for that white Afrikaans and black Africans could work side by side equally. He did not want the war between two different races to extend any further. This is a major turning point because it is when he became a hero to the nation and the world, not just a black man who was accused and found guilty of terrorist actions. He showed that blacks and whites both have feelings and that he is willing to put the past behind him.