Nelson Mandela's Fight for Freedom

1646 Words Mar 3rd, 2011 7 Pages
Imagine yourself growing up in a country where you might get thrown in jail for drinking from the wrong water fountain; where just because of your skin color, you get paid less money than your neighbor who has the same job; where you can’t even walk on the same sidewalk just because of the pigment in your skin. For Nelson Mandela, this situation was a reality. This style of living began in 1948 and, thanks to Mandela, ended in 1994. Problems began when the National Party---dominated by Afrikaans-speaking descendants of the Dutch settlers—came to power in South Africa. Segregation and mistreatment of the less superior—non-whites--became a government policy called “apartheid,” which means “apartness” in the Afrikaans language. Nelson Mandela …show more content…
He was disguised as a white friend’s chauffer. At this point in time, the government was arresting all black leaders that took part in the Anti- Apartheid movement. So, in an attempt to avoid being arrested, Mandela was forced to live apart from his family. He moved from place to place to avoid being detected by government informers and spies. Usually during important events, like rallies, he would often disguise himself as a chauffer or a gardener. Mandela was nicknamed, “the Black Pimpernel,” because he was so he was so successful at dodging the police. However, he was not successful enough. After being arrested, Mandela was charged with inciting strikes and illegally leaving the country. He had often traveled to countries in North and West Africa to gain support. He also traveled to England where he met politicians. Throughout his trial—the Rivonia Trial---Mandela carried out his own defense. In the end, Mandela was found guilty and sentenced to prison at Robben Island for five years. This jail was bleak, unwelcoming, and depressing. It is about 7.5 miles off the coast of Cape Town. Robben Island was one of the harshest prisons in South Africa. The island was bitterly cold in the winter and scorching hot in the summer. Prisoners could only wear short trousers with no shoes. The imprisoned were to sleep on mats that lay out on their cell floor. Mandela’s cell was less than thirty-two square feet. He was confined to it for sixteen hours
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