In 1909, the Union of South Africa was formed. It was a dominion of the British Empire made up of several pre-existing colonies, and it was held under British rule until 1961, when the Republic of South Africa was formed as a sovereign nation. In 1948, the policy of apartheid, segregation based on race, with the white minority ruling, became official, and did not end until 1991. One of South Africa's great leaders in the fight against apartheid was Nelson Mandela, who is often called the father of the nation.
Face Of Unity is the definitive Nelson Mandela documentary feature and first retrospective to be released since the president's death in late 2013. It includes a never before seen speech where Mandela outlines the groundwork for peace and reconciliation to future generations.
At first, Mandela fought to free South Africa from apartheid peacefully. In the 1940s, he started the African National Congress Youth League, whose missions was to give black in South Africa the right to vote. However, in 1960, there was a massacre of 69 peaceful protesters in Sharpeville. This was a major turning point. Mandela feared that many apartheid-fighters, angered by this attack, would join a different group if the ANC did not retaliate in kind. Mandela, founded MK ("Spear of the Nation"), an armed wing of the African National Congress, as a way to overthrow apartheid. Mandela was held on trial in 1963-1964 in what is known as the Rivonia Trial for sabotage, facing the death sentence. During the trial, he said:
"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. ”
Watch the biography from www.nelsonmandela.org
He was found guilty and served 27 years in prison. He was freed in 1990. He became the first black President of South Africa in its first democratically held election.
Mandela won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech, he said:
"We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social operation whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people."
He fought apartheid, racism, and poverty in his country. In 1997, his life was made into a movie, and he was played by the actor Sidney Poitier. He was called the father of his nation. He died at the age of 95 in 2013.
Muhammad Ali was a legend in the boxing ring and a hero to millions. Read his essay on his hero, Nelson Mandela, who fought apartheid.
Listen to the audio version of Muhammad Ali's hero essay on Nelson Mandela: "Mandela is my hero because he embraces all people like brothers and sisters."
Paul Rusesabagina saved hundreds of lives during the Rwandan genocide. Read his essay on his heroes, his father (Rupfure Thomas) and Nelson Mandela.
Raffi Cavoukian, or Raffi, as he is known to millions, writes award-winning songs about the ecological web. Read his hero essay on Nelson Mandela.
Imagine growing up in a country where drinking out of the wrong water fountain might get you thrown into jail; where a man might have the very same job as his neighbor, but because of the color of his skin, get paid less in a year than the other man made in a week; where the government told you that your ancestors and their ways of living were wrong and savage and not even human.
Listen to the audio version of Jeff Trussell's essay, narrated by Susan drennan Gabriel Bunn Nelson: "Mandela is one of the world's true freedom fighters, and his life and personal triumphs will be remembered long after the world has forgotten the evils of Apartheid."
Ronald V. Dellums is a former U.S. Congressman who fought against apartheid in South Africa.
Amy Eldon Turteltaub visited South Africa's notorious prison on Robben Island with anti-apartheid crusader Ahmed Kathrada, who was confined with Nelson Mandela for 27 years.
Highlights from My Hero's Nelson Mandela Day Event
In 2013 the MY HERO Project and Creative Visions Foundation produced a special event honoring Mandela on his 95th birthday.
Special thanks to New Roads School and New Visions Foundation for their support for this program. In honor of Mandela's Birthday friends, artists, filmmakers and musicians joined together to honor this great leader.
Below are clips from that event and stories and art and films shared on MY HERO in honor of Nelson Mandela.
Art Inspired by Nelson Mandela
I was inspired to do this piece when Mr. Mandela was released from prison. I create very large images and I just wanted to capture the years of patience and mental anguish that had to have attached themselves to the character of this man.
This is a picture of Nelson Mandela's hand made into a fist raised into the air. It symbolizes that he is against apartheid and we must rid the world of it.
This shows Nelson Mandela's happiness and victory poses on the left and right. His happiness with the FIFA trophy in the middle and the apartheid in the background in black and white to represent that it's in he past and how Mr. Mandela conquered it.