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Nelson Mandela Early Life and Education

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Nelson Rholilaha Mandela was born in Qunu, a small village in the former Transkei on July 18, 1918. Because he was a member of the Madiba clan, he was raised amongst Xhosa royalty. Although he spent 27 years in three different prisons, Mandela is known as an international hero and South Africa's first Democratic president. He fought not for black or white domination, but he fought against them both; he fought for a democratic and free society for South Africa. Mandela was an active member of the African National Congress and participated in many movements to combat apartheid and better the nation of South Africa.

Rholilaha Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 into a large family. His father, Henry Mandela was the town chief of Mvezo. Mandela's father had four wives, and his third wife was Nelson's mother, Nosekeni Fanny. Fanny's father was from the Mpemvu Xhosa clan; Nelson spent much of his early childhood in the house of this clan. A tragic event happened when Rholilaha was 9. His father died from tuberculosis. In this event Nelson had to move in with the regent Jongintaba.

Rholilaha's education started at a Wesleyan mission school next to the palace of the regent; this is also the place where his first teacher gave him the name, Nelson. Nelson was the first member of his family to attend school. At the age of 16 following Thembu custom, Nelson moved on to the Clarkebury Boarding Institute; here he completed his junior certificate early in two years. At the age of 19, Nelson moved to a Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort. He became interested in boxing and running at the college. After he left the Wesleyan college, he moved on to Fort Hare University to study for his Bachelor of Arts.

Nelson Mandela's first opposition was at Fort Hare University. Mandela became close friends with his kinsman, Kaiser Matanzima who, as royal scion of the Thembu Right Hand House, was in line for the throne of Transkei. Matanzima caused Nelson to embrace policies of the Bantu. Along with this embracement of Bantustan policies Nelson became involved in a Students' Representative Boycott against university policies.



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