“Education is the most powerful weapon, 

which you can use to change the world.”

–Nelson Mandela


Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, on 18 July 1918. While attending primary school in Qunu, his teacher gave him the name “Nelson” as the custom required giving all schoolchildren “Christian” names.

Mandela, while becoming increasingly political after 1941, only joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944. He was among the founding members of ANC Youth League (ANCYL). Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its efforts, the ANC adopted a more radical mass-based policy, the Programme of Action, in 1949. As a result of trial for sabotage in what became known as the Rivonia Trial, Mandela and seven other accused were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 27 years behind the bars for making apartheid defeated. On 10 May 1994 he was inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected President.

BBC’s Africa editor Fergal Keane made a visit to South Africa’s conservative rural areas some time ago. He was shocked to witness that racism was still deeply embedded there. His travel across the platteland made it clear to him that in South Africa much had remained unchanged even after the official end to apartheid rule.