Nelson Mandela Essay: What to Write?

A lot of schools and universities will give you essays and research papers to write. One of the most popular topics would be Nelson Mandela.

We’ll give you a couple of ideas on what to write about the philanthropist.

Continue reading below to find out more about what his life was all about. See how he spearheaded the efforts to dismantle South Africa’s apartheid system.

Who Is Nelson Mandela?

Rolihlahla Mandela or more known as Nelson Mandela is a popular South African figure. Many recognize Mandela as the man who stood up for what he believed in life. He was a social rights activist, philanthropist, and politician.

Mandela was involved in the anti-apartheid movement. By 1942, he also joined the African National Congress. He organized a peaceful and non-violent campaign against the racist policies of the government. This propelled Mandela to be the inspiration for worldwide civil rights activists.

  • Personal Life, Wife, and Children

Born on July 18, 1918, in Mvezo, Mbashe River in Transkei, South Africa, Mandela lived in a small village. His name ” Rolihlahla ” means pulling branch of a tree or a troublemaker in the Xhosa language.

He was the first in his family to go to school. It was through school that his teacher changed his name into Nelson. This was because of the British Educational System bias in the country.

Mandela had gone through three marriages. He had six children, four from Evelyn Ntoko mase in 1944, two from Winnie Madikizela in 1958. He then remained with Graca Machel from 1958 until his death which was in 2013.

  • Political Awakening

When Mandela reached the age of 16, he had his introduction to rituals and rules. He needed to undergo traditional African circumcision.

It was important for African men to undergo this ritual. Or else they will not be able to inherit their father’s wealth, marry, or even officiate tribal rituals.

Mandela heard the main speaker Chief Meligqili. The chief lamented that young men were only enslaved in their own land. He added that the reason for this was because of the white men. The chief further pointed out that they were never given the power to take the helm of their own country.

There was more discussion about young men struggling in making a living. They would only be at the mercy of serving white men.

At first, Mandela didn’t think anything of it. But in the later years, he would use it as a driving force to push for independence in South Africa.

  • His Years in Prison

Mandela was always dedicated to peaceful protests. But he began thinking about how armed struggle might be the only way to see the changes they longed. This paved the way for the foundation of  Umkhonto We Sizwe or MK.

The MK was an armed offshoot targeting the ANC. They worked to sabotage and use guerilla war tactics to be able to stop the apartheid.

His arrest stemmed from organizing a three-day national worker’s strike in 1961. In the following year, Mandela found himself stuck in prison for 5 years. Then in 1963, Mandela faced trial once more. This time with ten other ANC leaders; they received life imprisonment sentences.

For what grounds? This time, it was for a criminal offense with sabotage.

Mandela was in prison from 1962 to 1990, a total of 27 years. His incarceration was at Robben Island for 18 years. He received the lowest treatment in prison for being black.

He was able to earn a degree in bachelor of law. This was with help from a University of London correspondence program.

He and the other ANC leaders were then moved to Pollsmoor prison. An offer of release surfaced. This was on the condition that they renounce their armed struggle. This was something that they rejected on the spot.

Mandela experienced release from prison. He wasted no time and urged foreign powers to lower down their pressure. This meant the ease on the South African government of constitutional reform.

He was still committed to a peaceful struggle but reiterated that the ANC will not stop. Not until the black majority gets the right to vote.

  • The Nobel Peace Prize

Mandela received the Nobel peace prize with president F. W. de Klerk. This was for their efforts in thwarting the apartheid.

Right after his release from prison, Mandela worked with president de Klerk. They worked towards holding the first multiracial elections in the country.

Negotiations were often strained, and violence burst everywhere. This also led to the assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani. Mandela had to work hard to keep the balance from all sides.

  • Journey through Presidency

It was from 1994 to 1999 that Mandela became president of South Africa. He transitioned the country to accept a black majority rule. He used sports to bring black South Africans and whites together. He then encouraged them to support the national rugby team.

Mandela was a key person in protecting South Africa’s economy. He used the restriction and development plan to create a job, and to bring housing and health care.

He signed a constitution guaranteeing the rights and freedom of expression of minorities.

  • His Death

By the year 2013, Mandela, at 95, had passed away. He suffered a lung infection and underwent surgery in 2012. He frequented the hospital many times after for treatment.

His wife and daughter remained by his side after his June 2013 hospitalization. Jacob Zuma, who was the current president, released the statement honoring Mandela’s legacy.

  • Movies, Books, and His Legacy

Throughout his life, Mandela published many books. There’s his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. There’s also No Easy Walk to Freedom; Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life. And you also have the Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales.

The movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2012) took inspiration from his autobiography. July 18 was also declared as Mandela Day to promote global peace. This day also celebrates Nelson Mandela’s lasting legacy.

Getting Professional Help to Check Your Essay

There is more to write about Nelson Mandela, especially when you want to make a good piece about him. If you want professional help, just google “someone to write my essay,” and you will find various paper writing services to help you check your work.

With these services, you can now be confident that you’ve submitted the best essay in class. See what these services offer and improve your output.

Research and Know Your Facts to Produce the Best Essay

There’s nothing better than submitting a good paper about the topic assigned to you. Nelson Mandela, as a topic, is a good start as you can find plenty of resources offline and online.

Always listen to the instructions, and make a good structure for your essay. A well-planned writing with good points and arguments will earn you a high grade.

Afrikaans Translation Special Words

A translator offering Afrikaans or Chinese translation services knows very well that there will be some words that will give them more than just a simple headache.

For one, they may come across words that simply cannot be translated but which have a lot of meaning for a certain paragraph or chapter. On the other hand, they are likely to meet with words that translate in a completely different way than they believe.

In this respect, today we will be taking a look at some Afrikaans translation special words – basically, the words you’ll have to keep an eye on if you plan on translating text from Afrikaans.


As expected, this word doesn’t come with a literal translation. Instead, it has an English approximate – namely, wander or roam. You could the aforementioned to translated dwaal, but it actually means a bit more for the natives.

The word may also imply boredom, melancholy, the need for space, as well as someone being absent-minded. For example, if you see someone wander through a mall without any direction, you could say that they dwaal away.


If we were to literally translate this word, it would mean cake sister. However, its meaning doesn’t always imply a cake and never a sister. Instead, it is a word that’s commonly used on the theme of foods – basically, something that the locals would see as a South African delicatessen.

For example, if you feel like you’d really enjoy some pastry you happen to see, then you can freely say that someone could buy you out with koeksisters.


If you know a translator or someone that translates this term as cat’s anger or cat’s fury, then you should prepare to give them some new information.

While the word may be literally translated to cat’s fury, it is actually used to describe the behavior of a prankster – a naughty behavior. In fact, pranks would be the English approximate of this word.

However, keep in mind that it can refer to both naughty, harmless activities and to not exactly innocent, shocking ones.


This word is literally translated and does actually mean blissful happiness. However, the overachieving translator might have a really hard time finding an English word to encompass the true meaning of geluksalig.

This term is mostly used in Christian churches in order to describe a so-called divinely inspired joy. It may also be used to express superior enjoyment, relaxation, or gratification in any kind of situation.

Simply put, it actually means much more than just blissful happiness.


If you were to directly translate this word, you would be left with the We’re not sure there is one! phrase. Translating it in this way would make you be very far away from its true meaning.

Verpletter is actually used to describe a form of harsh demolition or destruction. Words like shatter or utterly destroy can be considered as English approximates. For example, verpletter can describe a certain disastrous event that had grave consequences as a result.


Literally translated to rhyme babble mouth, this word is believed to be one of the most unique ones in Afrikaans, as it has no English equivalent. However, if we are to put some thought into its translation, we can round it up to a rather simple meaning.

The Afrikaans word kletser is used to refer to a person who keeps on talking – talks and talks and talks -, usually to an old lady. As we combine it with rym, which means rhyme, we get what we know as a rapper.

Rymkletsers are, basically, rappers!


This word could easily enter the common vocabulary of a native English speaker if they knew its meaning. It comes with no literal translation and is used by Afrikaans people to refer to a broken, old vehicle.

If your can is old, malfunctioning, or just broken, you would say that it is a skedonk.


It can be translated, literally, to foot push, which may make some people think that, when your car gets stuck on the road or just needs a push to start, you would have to voetstoots it.

However, it means something completely different, as it refers to the property market. When selling or buying a property without any form of warranty, you can say that you bought or sold it without any voetstoots.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, translators that deal with Afrikaans don’t have it easy when translating to English. These were only a couple of the words that come with no literal translation and that are certain to make a translator struggle on the job.

Nevertheless, we can all agree that Afrikaans – as odd as it may sound – is one of the most beautiful and unique languages on Earth. If you ever come across a book translated from Afrikaans, you may notice that some

The Lowdown of South Western Townships

South Africa Soweto Aparthe

Although many have probably heard of a community called “Soweto” from accounts of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela’s lives, its history and other important occurrences within it remain cloaked by the shadows of mystery, especially for those living outside the locality.

Soweto: How It Came to Be

In the middle of the bohemian city of Johannesburg and its gold-mining industry is an urban settlement called Soweto. The place’s name itself reflects the provocative manner at how the township came to be.

According to South African History, SOWETO is an acronym that stands for South West Townships.

In 1959, Non-European Affairs Chairman William Carr commenced the naming of the town that served as a temporary settlement for the black residents of Johannesburg.

At the time, Carr launched a competition wherein participants are given a chance to name the township based on its collective nature since it will be housing people from different towns southwest of Johannesburg. Filled with enthusiasm for the contest, citizens responded with their name ideas, which included KwaMpanza, which means “Mpanza’s place.”

Since the suggestion was a way of protesting Johannes squatter leader James Mpanza’s hand at causing the segregation of black residents from their white neighbors, the City Council opted for a less controversial name instead: SOWETO.

Heidi Holland on Soweto and Racism

For a time, the town’s name even became common knowledge around the world after the 1976 uprising involving Soweto students, two of whom died after being shot at by local law enforcement, according to Michigan State University’s Overcoming Apartheid website. Heidi Holland (journalist and author) wrote about the town.  She decided that it was time to reveal the real face of Johannesburg in South Africa through her book Born in Soweto: Inside the Heart of South Africa.

However, Soweto has always been a center for racism in Johannesburg even before all these transpired. Its creation alone exudes an exceptionally high level of racism in the city as the “white” government opted to separate the “blacks” from the community.

During the 1930s, the township was created as a cordon sanitaire, or “sanitary corridor,” per 1923’s Urban Areas Act. To make matters worse, the town’s occupants were only given temporary residence up until 1976 as they were considered as mere servants for Johannesburg.

It is considered the biggest Black city in South Africa that also gained international fame during the Apartheid era for filthy streets, unsteady homes, and the violence that brought sorrow and spite among its residents.

Because of this, Heidi Holland opted to reveal the lowdown on the South Western Townships in Born in Soweto with the help of residents who live there who willingly shared their thoughts about their hometown. At one point, the Rhodesian journalist and author revealed that even those living in Soweto consider it as an awful place to live in.

Soweto’s Shot at Fame: The Uprising Against Apartheid

Maybe because of its history and how it came to be, Soweto couldn’t rid of conflict within its society. In fact, it has become popular for all the wrong reasons, two of which you probably heard of: the uprising against apartheid.

According to History, the apartheid, a system of institutionalised racial segregation, was first introduced in South Africa in 1948 when the reign of the National Party began. Although the supremacy of white citizens in the country had been widely accepted, the fragile balance in society was tipped with the introduction of apartheid policies.

Under their reign, the National Party not only separated non-white citizens physically but also restricted their chances of progressing in livelihood by making it unlawful for them to serve as sharecroppers.

Then, in 1950, the South African rule decided that it wasn’t right for white people and other races to engage in interracial sexual contact and marriage.

Using the Population Registration Act, the government effectively segregated citizens of the nation under three classifications: the black Africans called “Bantu,” the coloured or mixed race, and the whites. There were also cases when the law required families to break apart.

The youth were also forced into following this segregation after the government enacted the Bantu Education Act in 1953. This gave birth to the South African Students Organisation (SASO) and Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), according to the NGO Pulse.

After more than two decades of appealing for better, if not equal, opportunities for black students, they decided to take matters into their own hands by joining the Uprising on June 16, 1976. Using their native tongue, Afrikaans, the radical youth took to the streets carrying placards that reflect their grievances in a march that was supposed to conclude in Orlando Stadium.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. Armed with guns and tear gas, local authorities blocked their way and, eventually, stopped the rallyists from setting foot to the stadium.

Following news about this occurrence in Soweto, the rest of the country followed suit and the Anti-Apartheid Movement and other groups opposing racial segregation, overpowered the National Party with Nelson Mandela at the helm.

Movies about Nelson Mandela. Invictus


This is Nelson Mandela life story. Invictus evokes emotions and the greatest remembered times of the South African President Nelson Mandela who within his times created the best and most remembered leadership of all times. The Movie Invictus involves actor Morgan Freeman, clearly shows the role Nelson Mandela played during and after the apartheid rule. He was a man who rose to leadership of his country twenty four years later after being imprisoned by the minority Whites. Despite this he forgave them for jailing him and through that he created what was the real truth and Reconciliation path that gave the real meaning off someone who had a lot to forgive and went ahead to forgive.

According to the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness, there lies nine ways in which national cultures are measured. Assertiveness, individualism, human orientation were some of great leadership traits Nelson Mandela portrays in the movie Invictus. Nelson Mandela acted with assertiveness and portrayed the self-denial by stepping aside only after ruling for one term. He portrayed human orientation by also agreeing to forgive the whites who had made him suffer, by throwing him in prison for over two decades. Freeman acting as the president realizes how the country is torn between racial discriminations, high levels of unemployment and poor political management by the blacks only a year after assuming power. He portrays confidence, commitment to national values, closer ties with however he mingled with all portrayed his leadership skills. He treats all sorts of people with decorum and respect, as portrayed when he meets the Springboks captain, Piennar. He ascertains power with authority by constantly reminding his staff that issues can be handled differently. He does more by encouraging Team work which he does by inspiring cheering of the springboks by all the races whether white or black.

An effective change management is one that ensures that change occurs thoroughly and following the right procedures. This change thus leads to everlasting benefits that affect the current and future results. A change management focus is one that impacts positively on the lives of people, not only as individuals, but also as teams, thus enabling them to move from the current state to a better state. Morgan freeman, portrays Nelson Mandela as a strong manager who tried to bring his people together for a common good. He brings together members of the dividend nation together by ensuring South Africa obtains the Rugby hosting of the World cup. Through this the nation is brought together using sport. He goes on to attend the South African games as a way of encouraging the players. Mandela surely portrays how important it is to agree to national decisions, after the local sporting organization changes the name of the team to suit a black nation. He goes against the idea but losses on the vote, but uses this as an encouraging way and takes the loss as a small win.

Mandela uses communication to achieve great results, through regularly meeting the organizers of the team he constantly keeps in tab to know the team’s progress from them. Further before the games he summons the Springbok captain and tells him to believe they can win despite all the indications they could lose. He also memorizes the names of all the springbok team players so that he can be summoning them individually in his office as a way of encouraging them. More so, he goes well with the staff who call him Mandiba in line with his clan. He also knows them by name.

How Did Nelson Mandela Shape the Course of South African History?

Nelson Mandela picture

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo in the Eastern part of South Africa on the 18th of July 1918. He was the son of a prominent Thembu chief, Henry Mandela and mother Noqaphi Nosekeni.

Rolihlahla was the name given to him by his father, a Xhosa name, when roughly translated means “Trouble-maker”. The name Nelson was given to him by a white missionary , who was his teacher whilst he attended elementary school.

Mandela was the first of his family and one of very few black youths to matriculate from high school. After his matriculation, he went to the University of Fort-Hare in the Eastern Cape town Alice, the only university at the time which allowed black citizens (Black, Coloured and Indian) access to tertiary education. He did not attain his tertiary qualification at Fort Hare. Due to a dispute with the institution’s governing body based on the way student representatives are elected, Mandela left the university and decided to head to Johannesburg. He enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) for a BA degree in Law.

Mandela started his journey with the ANC (African National Congress) in 1944, where he joined a group of young, black intellectuals , and founded the ANCYL (African National Congress Youth League). married his first wife, Evelyn Mase on the 15th of July 1944. Evelyn was the cousin of his very close friend and fellow Apartheid activist veteran, Walter Sisulu.

In 1948, The Nationalist Party was elected as the ruling political government of South Africa, and as the ruling party, the NP laid down the foundations for the implementation of racial segregation known as “ Apartheid”, which literally translates into “Apartness”.

The ANC was extremely active in resisting the new laws of the Apartheid government, and mostly showed their defiance with non-violent protests. Nelson Mandel climbed the ranks of the ANC, and by 1952 was the national deputy president of the Party.

The ANC leaders came to notice how ineffective these non-violent protests were becoming. Every time the party organised mass demonstrations of peaceful resistance, the government and police forces would react with an unprecedented amount of violence and force. It was due to this that the ANCYL formed their armed military wing, “Umkhonto we Sizwe”, translating to “Spear of the Nation” in 1961.

Nelson Mandela became a fugitive and went into hiding from the South African Government. He was eventually captured by police during a raid of the Farm “Liliesleaf” where he was in hiding. The police also managed to capture senior ANC members, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Dennis Goldberg to name a few.

He went on trial in undoubtedly the biggest trial in the history of South Africa, known as the “Rivonia Trial”. Him and his ANC counterparts were all being charged with; conspiracy to overturn the government by revolution, assisting the invasion of South Africa with foreign troops and sabotage. Mandela and his co-accused were all under the impression that they all would be executed. When sentencing was handed over on the 12th of June 1964, all accused were sentenced to life imprisonment at Robben Island prison.

On the 31st of March 1982, Mandela and a few other political prisoners where transferred to Pollsmoor Prison. After getting treated for Tuberculosis in 1988 for 12 weeks, he was then transferred to a private residential house on the Victor Vester Prison premises.

In 1990, the newly elected president F.W De Klerk released Nelson Mandela from jail after 27 years of imprisonment. He also unbanned all political parties that were banned previously, PAC (African Congress) and ARM (African Resistance Movement) to name a few.

During the years of 1990-1993, Mandela as president of the ANC lead numerous negotiations on behalf of the oppressed, black population of South Africa for equal and fair rights and opportunities for all South African Citizens.

He did extensive travelling around the world, appealing to many western, developed countries to lift the sanctions they had imposed on South Africa due to the Apartheid regime.

In 1993 a date was set for the first democratic elections in South Africa, which were to take place on the 27th-29th of April 1994. In May 1994, it was announced that the ANC had one the national elections with a 62% majority, and on the 9th of May 1994, Nelson Mandela was announced the president of the Republic of South Africa.

When it comes to individuals who have had such a monumental influence on the shaping of history, are these people simply pre-determined by destiny; or is it a case of someone who just happens to find themselves in a certain set of circumstances that happen to change the course of history coincidentally.

The theory that seems to make the most logical rationale is; an individual can impact history by how they react to the specific circumstances they are faced with.

Apartheid was the circumstance, yet if anyone, other than Nelson Mandela was the instrumental figure of the eradication of the Apartheid regime, the outcome would have been very different.

Nelson Mandela changed the course of history by playing a vital role in the abolishment of racial segregation in South Africa. He changed the course of history by the decisions he made, when faced with the difficult and unjust circumstances of the oppressive regime.

He was committed to the vision of the ANC and his own for a country where each citizen is entitled to fair and equal treatment, and all are entitled to have an equal share in the benefits and resources of the country. This commitment is clearly evident in the speech he delivered in court, during the famous Rivonia Trial on the 20th of April 1964.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. 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 will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

His endurance and his unwavering spirit is what brought about the best possible outcome for the oppressed people of South Africa. There were any a time where to negotiate a political, social and economic freedom for all those who were oppressed Apartheid government.

SA stars attend opening of Mandela Day library in Bergville

On 10 April 2013, Sibusiso Vilane, the first African to reach the summit of Everest, and Hlubi Moya of Isidingo kicked off the opening of the 25th Mandela Day container library at Opperman’s Kraal Primary School in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal.

The container library – the first of several to be funded by Participate for Good – was well received by the young learners, despite the cold and wet weather.

Participate for Good is a sports programme run by Robert Coutts that focuses on getting people involved in various activities, which in turn raise funds for the 46664 Bangle Mandela Day library project.

In this case it was the Old Mutual joBerg2c race – a nine-day 900km cycle from Johannesburg to Durban – that sponsored the contents of the Opperman’s Kraal Primary School container library.

Click here to read the rest of this article on the Mandela Day website.

The 50th anniversary of the Rivonia Trial

Rivonia trialists from left: Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Nelson Mandela and Denis Goldberg

The approaching 50th anniversary of the Rivonia Trial, which saw Nelson Mandela and seven others sentenced to life imprisonment, will attract much media attention.

To assist the media in their reporting we have compiled two timelines, both accessible online:

  • Nelson Mandela prison timeline
  • Nelson Mandela trials and prison chronology

These timelines address several common myths related to the Rivonia Trial:

  • That Nelson Mandela was arrested in the Rivonia Raid in 1963. In fact, he was arrested on 5 August 1962
  • That Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on Robben Island when the Rivonia Raid happened on 11 July 1963. In fact, he was serving his sentence in the Pretoria Local Prison at the time – having been on Robben Island earlier for two weeks, from 27 May 1963 to 12 June 1963
  • That Nelson Mandela and the seven others convicted with him were sent to Robben Island. In fact, Denis Goldberg, the only white person convicted in the Rivonia Trial, was sent to Pretoria since white prisoners were not allowed on Robben Island
  • That the Rivonia Trial started in November 1963. In fact, the accused first appeared in court on 9 October 1963. After a range of legal delays and actions, they pleaded to the charges on 3 December 1963
  • That the Rivonia Trial was a “treason trial”. In fact, the Rivonia accused were charged and convicted of sabotage, not treason

The timelines contain many other useful facts which may assist media in their reporting.

For more information about the life and times of Nelson Mandela, please consult our website.

Invitation to cover the announcement of a unique music initiative in honour of Mandela Day

Joe Thomas

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, together with R&B legend Joe Thomas and Yamaha South Africa, invite you to cover the announcement of a unique music initiative in honour of Mandela Day.

The aim of this initiative is to drive education through music, with the coming together of an internationally-renowned musician and the local music (services) industry to inspire change.

This is a key partnership to show the reach of Madiba’s legacy, and the difference that can be made in people coming together to drive change through youth.

Venue: Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 107 Central Street, Houghton
Date: 10 July 2013
Time: 14h00

Former President Mandela responding to treatment: issued by the Presidency

President Jacob Zuma visited former President Nelson Mandela this evening, 10 July 2013, and found him still critical but stable, and was informed by doctors that he was responding to treatment.

“We are encouraged that Madiba is responding to treatment and urge the public to continue providing support and showering him with love which gives him and the family strength,” said President Zuma.

Enquiries: Mac Maharaj on 079 879 3203.

Issued by: The Presidency