While once a man of peaceful non-violent protests, that didn’t remain his position. In the 1950’s the National Party enforced harsher laws against blacks, leading to greater segregation. When peaceful protests were responded to with violence by the South African government, it became clear that those fighting for freedom must answer with violence to gain peace.
In the early 1950’s he was sentenced for nine-months due to the protests he led. In the mid-fifties, he was arrested and charged with treason. When the charges didn’t stand, he and others formed the antiapartheid movement Umkhonto weSizwe (the Spear of the Nation). This armed unit of the ANC was put in play in December of 1961. It was an option that veered away from the previously non-violent tactics that proved unsuccessful.
In 1962, he was arrested once again and sentenced to five years for illegal travel. Then in 1963, charged with high treason to which he received a life sentence. While serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison, this political prisoner was a topic of discussion worldwide. The United States was just one of the countries who called on the South African government to release him. On February 11, 1990, he walked out of prison a free man.
This man was known as a terrorist, and also a winner of the noble peace prize. He was the first in many significant achievements and will be remembered throughout the world. The former South African President is honored and celebrated July 18, with the Nelson Mandela International Day. Many nations celebrated with weeklong events.
This week will be historic as well regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran. The UN is expected to vote on the deal Monday, July 20. We must remember that South Africa is the only nation to ever voluntarily relinquish their nuclear weapons. Some suggest they did this to avoid Nelson Mandela and the ANC getting their hands on them. The limit some people will go to, in order to achieve peace.