Today marks the birthday of a great leader, politician and philanthropist of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. He was born as Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo to the Thembu royal family. He is widely known for his peaceful campaign against the South African government for its racism. His birthday has been celebrated as 'Mandela Day' to promote world peace.
His father Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a chief councillor to the monarch. Mandela was great learner and believed in education and life-long learning. Mandela's father and mother were illiterate, but they sent him to Wesleyan Mission School, at the age of 7. No one before him, in his family, had ever attended school. He studied English, Xhosa, History and Geography during his schooling. The name 'Nelson' was given to him by his school teacher, after which his name became Nelson Mandela.
Mandela had completed his secondary schooling at Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo. After completion of Junior Certificate in two years, he went to the Methodist College for higher studies. He completed his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of South Africa through correspondence at Johannesburg.
Later, Mandela joined University of Witswatersrand to pursue a course in law. Then he started a law practice in South Africa, giving affordable and free advice to the black people. He also continued his legal education while he was in prison in Robben Island.
Presently, the Robben Island is popularly known as "Nelson Mandela University".
We remember Nelson Mandela's famous quote:
'A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.'
Click here to know about some of Mandela's prominent achievements, the people who influenced him, and some of his educational quotes.