If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

“I never lose. I either win or learn”

“I never lose. I either win or learn” - e-history.kz
July 18 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most prominent politicians of our lifetime - Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela was born July 18, 1918 in Mwezo, in the family of the leader of Gadla Henry Mpakaniswa. Father of Mandela lived in three families, but from the very childhood he felt the love of his parents, from whom he inherited an unyielding character and a will to justice. It is these qualities and unshakable faith in the bright future of their people, which first was conquered by the Dutch, and then by the British, served as the basis for writing a great history, which for a long time will be an example for many nations.

It was Mandela who managed to lay the foundations for a new multiracial and democratic South Africa, to avoid a highly probable bloody civil war and to form the main lines of effective economic policy. The political successors of Mandela for almost a decade and a half after the withdrawal of the "father of South Africa" ​​from power generally only continue his 'general line'.

Mandela is an extremely interesting and somewhat paradoxical figure. He comes from the "royal" family of the tribal aristocracy. In South Africa, virtually all representatives of this social stratum, in exchange for personal welfare and privileges, served faithfully to representatives of the ruling white minority and helped to keep the broad masses of the Negro population grimacing. Mandela from the young age took the side of the oppressed and poor people.

In the distant 60's. In the last century, he created the organization Umkohonto we Sizwe, which carried out terrorist acts against White authorities and was preparing for large-scale military operations to overthrow the apartheid system. For 27 years in a row, Mandela was held in custody and strongly rejected all proposals to be released in exchange for renouncing political activity or even violent methods of struggle. At the same time, after the Black majority came to power, he did not succumb to the temptation to take revenge on the white people for the suffering and humiliation of the whole people and their own.

From a young age Mandela was not only an African nationalist, but also a left socialist, close to the ideology of the Communists. During the trial over him to a direct question of the judge, whether he was a communist, Mandela answered evasively-say, formally is not a member of the party. Three decades later, having come to power, he retained the market economy in the country, contributing significantly to its further development, although, of course, he launched a large-scale, quite effective (as it turned out, time) social protection programs for the poorest strata of the population aimed at rapid reduction, and in the long term also overcoming the catastrophic gap in the level and conditions of life of the black and white communities.

From the clay hovel - to an attorney's office

The grandfather of Mandela was the supreme leader, or the "king" of the tribe of Tembu, and the British colonial administration recognized its "sovereignty" over the rather significant territories of the Transkei region. His father - Gadla Mpakaniswa - was the only son of the "great leader", so that neither he nor his descendants had a chance to inherit the throne. But Gadla became a member of the royal council, managing a small area of ​​several villages. The same position was rightfully "reserved" for Mandela, but he never took advantage of this opportunity. Mandela was born in a hut of adobe, which his mother Nosenekeni herself made, dried in the sun and built walls from it. Roofs served as bundles of grass. The "chairs" and "cabinets" in the premise of the leader's wife were also made of clay. There was no table, no beds - they slept on the floor, covered with mats. Nosenky was the third wife of Hadla and, except for Kholilala, had two more daughters.

The father of the future president was a stern, stubborn and proud person. When Kholila was one year old, his father had a conflict with the local white magistrate because of the bull. As a result, Gadlu was deprived of the position of leader, he lost most of his livestock, land and income. To feed four wives and 13 children, he was forced to divide the family, and Nosekeni and three children had to move to the neighboring village of Kunu, which Mandela considered his small homeland. He always with nostalgia recalled bathing in the cold mountain streams, milk that drank directly from the udder.

Mandela's parents were illiterate, but he himself was sent to a Protestant missionary school at the age of seven (by the way, the first of their kind), where he was christened and instead of (or, perhaps, in addition) "pagan" name Kholilal, also English Nelson. "Why Nelson, what guided the teacher, choosing my name, I still do not know," Mandela wrote. However, then it was common practice in the English colonies to call the baptized natives not ordinary Christian names, but in honor of the British imperial heroes. So the name of the future president of South Africa was the surname of the famous admiral, who won the Battle of Trafalgar.

When Nelson was nine years old, his father died, and the uncle of Jongintaba Dalindiebo adopted the orphan, who by that time had become the supreme leader of the Tembu. Therefore, the boy moved to Mkhekzeni - the Grand Palace of the leader. There he was very fond of the evening bonfire to listen to the stories of elders about the leaders and heroes of Tembu. The first lessons of democracy, as Mandela himself recalled, he received at the tribute of the tribe, who visited first secretly (because of his very young age). People walked tens of kilometers on foot to participate in the meeting, where everyone was given an opportunity to speak out, and the decision was taken only by consensus. The boy was now going to another missionary school, near the "royal" palace. The closest friend of Nelson was the oldest son of Jongintaba, Justis, who later had to inherit the power of the supreme leader and promised that he would certainly appoint his friend 'the first minister'.

Yes, and Jongintaba believed that Nelson should become an adviser to the supreme leader. He sent his nephew together from Justis to study at the Methodist Institute in Clarkbury, then considered one of the best high schools for blacks in South Africa. Then friends went to even more prestigious Guildtown. It was there, around 1938, that Mandela first heard about the African National Congress (ANC).

After graduating from high school, Nelson entered a university to study law. During his studies he made several trips to South Africa, became a good amateur boxer, played in the student theater. Then he organized the first protest rally in his life. However, this was not a political action - the students spoke only against the bad food in the university cafeteria. In general, at that time Nelson was not particularly interested in politics.

In 1940, his uncle-guardian decided to marry Justis and Nelson, and he himself chose brides for them. Mandela did not have anything against marriage (for his long life he was married three times), but was indignant that his uncle "king" did not take his taste into account. Therefore, friends fled hundreds of miles from Fort Hare to the "city of gold" of Johannesburg, where Nelson settled into a security guard at the mine. There he first saw with his own eyes the depth of humiliation and exploitation to which the black South Africans were subjected by their white countrymen. However, the guard Mandela did not work long - my uncle took care that the recalcitrant fugitive lost his job.

But thanks to the connections of the then ANC leader Walter Sisulu, whom Nelson made friends with, he was able to get a clerk to the law firm Vitkin, Sidelsky and Adelman. True, on almost a symbolic salary. "Stay away from politics," Mandela instructed Lazar Sidelsky, taking him to work. In the afternoon the guy worked in the firm, and at night sat over books - he managed to enter for study in absentia. According to Mandela, this was the hardest period of his life. Hungry, frayed, he was forced to live in the slums of the black suburb of Johannesburg Alexandria. Sometimes he had to walk 12 miles from home to work and 12 miles back to save on a bus ticket. And, despite everything, he was able in 1944 to obtain a bachelor's degree in law at the University of South Africa.

It was in the 40-ies. In the last century South Africa began to form a system of apartheid - the "separate residence" of the four racial groups of the country. White, colored, Indians and Negroes, according to this concept, had to have everything separate - and territories for living, and schools, and hospitals, and buses, and beaches, and even queues at post offices ... Interracial marriages or sexual contacts of steel a criminal offense. One black schoolchild was spending 11 times less on training than a white student. The standard of living of the white population of South Africa was almost the highest in the world, and the vast majority of black South Africans did not have either electricity or sanitation in their premises.

"Thousands of humiliations, thousands of insults and thousands of already forgotten moments have awakened in me anger, rebellious spirit and the desire to fight the system that enslaved my people," Mandela recalled.

Then he met a young nurse Evelyn Mays, Cousin Sisulu, in 1944, married her and moved to live in her house on the outskirts of Johannesburg Orlando. In the same year the ANC Youth League was created, and Mandela was elected to its executive committee. In 1948, Mandela became the head of the ANC Youth League. In the next - led the executive committee of the campaign of civil disobedience, during which tens of thousands of people of different races demonstratively violated the laws of apartheid. As a result, 8,500 campaign participants were behind bars. Among them, of course, was Mandela. Then his imprisonment lasted "only" for several months.

In 1952 Mandela, together with his friend Oliver Tambo, founded the country's first law firm for blacks, in which the interests of the indigenous people of the country were protected by people of the same blood. And almost immediately he was arrested again on the basis of the Act on the Suppression of Communist Activity, although he had never been a member of the Communist Party and regarded the representatives of this political force only as situational allies in his struggle, and sometimes even entered into a rather tough confrontation with them, in the dispersal of communist rallies.


Mandela increasingly plunged into the political struggle and, according to his mother, more and more "neglected the well-being of his family for the sake of the struggle for the welfare of others." Gradually, he became one of the leaders of the African National Congress, which organizes the resistance of the black majority to the inhuman apartheid system. In 1952, Mandela was elected vice-president of the ANC. The White minority court several times passed resolutions prohibiting Mandela from making public speeches and taking part in any mass actions. However, Nelson bans ignored. And one day he was arrested in front of his wife and children. Coming out of prison, he found his house empty - no wife, no children. Evelyn had long been dissatisfied with his "excessive" political activity and increasingly deepened his religion. In addition, her earnings of a qualified nurse were higher than those of a lawyer who was more concerned with politics than with legal activity alone.

Soon after the divorce from Evelyn, the 39-year-old Nelson at a bus stop accidentally met a 21-year-old girl named Nomasamo Winfred Madikizel, or simply Vinnie. "Even then, at the bus stop, I knew that I wanted her to be my wife and that she would become her," Mandela recalled many years later. And in fact, soon, June 19, 1958, Winnie and Nelson were married. The couple had two daughters, Zinji and Zenani. Together with two sons and a daughter (another died in infancy), from the first marriage Nelson had five children. Vinnie, in contrast to Evelyn, supported Nelson in everything, she became an activist of the ANC, took part in protest actions, several times got into the prison.

The South African regime of white minorities grew stronger "tightening the nuts". Police in the dispersal of civil incidents brutally beat protesters and even used firearms. Mandela himself received several serious injuries during various rallies and demonstrations, he spent a long time in hospitals.

Among the leadership of the Congress, a discussion began on the rejection of exclusively non-violent methods of struggle, a convinced supporter of whom, under the influence of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (who for a long time lived in South Africa and created her own theory of ahimsa, nonviolent resistance to "evil force"), Nelson became even at the beginning of his political career. But eventually Mandela came to the conclusion that "non-violence is not an unconditional moral principle, but only a strategy of struggle." And if this strategy does not bring victory, then it is necessary to apply other methods. The turning point for Mandela was Sharpeville massacre on March 21, 1960, when the police opened fire on a crowd of black demonstrators. 69 people died. Then in 1961 Mandela created the militarized wing of the ANC "Umkohonto we Sizwe", becoming its commander-in-chief. Then he was accused of high treason. And although the court acquitted Mandela because of a lack of evidence, immediately after his release, he moved to an illegal position. "I simply did not have a choice," he wrote over time, "because when a person is deprived of the right to live a life in which he believes, nothing else remains." Mandela illegally left the country, spent several months in military training in Ethiopia, in search of allies for the struggle carried out a large tour of Europe and some countries of the African continent and again illegally returned to South Africa. For almost two years, Mandela was traveling around the country, organizing the structures of Umkonto We Sizwe. Announcements about his search with promises of great reward to the issuers were published in all newspapers and broadcast on all TV channels. Every black South African now knew about Mandela, 'wrote one of his companions,' He became much more famous when he was in the dark. Than he ever was in the brightest light.'

But in 1962 Mandela was still arrested. And the authorities allowed another mistake, fatal for themselves, organizing a public trial over the Negro leader, hoping to discredit him during the trial in the eyes of the black compatriots. Mandela came to court in national clothes, wrapped in a leopard skin, which was supposed to symbolize the "return to the history, culture and traditions" of his people. However, knowledge of the laws, general erudition and oratory Mandela were completely at the level of the twentieth century. And the process on which he actually turned from the accused to the accuser, many compared with the most famous Leipzig process in 1933, when the Nazis tried Georgiy Dimitrov. Speeches of Mandela in court caused a huge resonance in the world. However, the "white Themis" condemned him to life imprisonment.

Six months later, in a cell in Pretoria, Mandela was transported to a horrible prison on Robben Island. He had heard about this prison island since childhood, and knew that when an attempt was made to escape from it, the commander of the army of the tribe of the Makan tribe drowned in the sea, that the chief of the tribe, Hoikhoy Oshumao, died here. Later there was a leper colony for lepers, and shortly before Mandela's arrest the island again became a prison for especially dangerous criminals. For many years he spent in solitary confinement area of ​​4.5 square meters. m, having the right to only two short visits and two letters a year.

"Prison life is terribly monotonous: every day is like the previous one, every week is exactly the same as the previous one, therefore months and years pass unnoticed into one another," Mandela wrote already at large.

The psyche of the vast majority of people does not stand up to long-term solitary confinement, the unfortunate go crazy. Mandela stood it. He retained not only clarity of mind, but also optimism - after experiencing terrible experiences, he did not stop loving people, because, as he himself wrote, "I always knew that one day I would feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sun like a free man." Mandela continued to fight and in prison, although it was a struggle only with the prison administration - for better conditions, better food and wider rights for prisoners. A light beam for him was a short meeting with Winnie, allowed only once every six months. Prison, Mandela is convinced, is the most terrible test, as no other shows the limits of what a person is capable of. Finally, in April 1982, after almost 20 years at Robben, a jailer entered the chamber of Mandela and ordered to collect things. Mandela was transferred to the mainland, to the prison in Pollesmore, where the conditions of detention were no longer so terrible.

Over these two decades, the anti-human practice of apartheid has caused condemnation throughout the world, the white regime of South Africa was boycotted, in particular, its membership in the UN and virtually all international organizations was suspended. However, the economic contacts of Western democracies with South Africa never ceased. And only US President Jimmy Carter, who, as is known, did not share politics and morals, significantly restricted America's trade with South Africa. The vast majority of African colonies gained independence, the world was rapidly changing. "Umkonto ve Sizwe" in the 80-ies. launched a large-scale guerrilla war against the authorities (in which many civilians also suffered), and the racist leadership of South Africa (and the broad masses of white South Africans) was increasingly aware that it would not be possible to maintain the status quo forever.

The white power of South Africa feverishly sought a way out and, as it seemed to the then leaders, found it in the so-called forestation. The fact is that two small Negro states - Swaziland and Lesotho - are surrounded on all sides by the territory of South Africa. Perhaps the main source of income for the needy population of these countries was "temporary" (sometimes for several decades) work in South Africa. In this case, the elderly, children and most women remained at home, and disenfranchised foreign workers could always be deported from South Africa with the least disgust. Then the white minority decided to turn the black majority of South Africa into foreigners in their own country. For three-quarters of the black population, 13% of the territory was allocated, in addition to the poorest lands where so-called homelands were created, or bantustans (for each tribe), which were given "self-government", and eventually "complete independence." Most homelands were not even holistic, but consisted of individual patches, surrounded on all sides by "white" lands. To live in these "states" there was no possibility, as the able-bodied population had to "temporarily" work in South Africa, but already as "foreigners". The success of this plan was most dependent on ... a prisoner serving a life sentence. The racists were convinced: if Mandela - at that time, absolute authority for the vast majority of black South Africans - at least with reservations, even if they conditional approval of their plan, they will be able to implement it. Mandela, to whom the jailers informed this "glad tidings" and offered freedom in exchange for the recognition of homelandization, categorically rejected the offer. This plan was not accepted by the world community either.

Finally, the next leader of the white community of South Africa - the last white president of South Africa, Frederick-Willem de Klerk realized that the homelandization plan had failed and the South African whites had two perspectives: either a bloody civil war with extermination and exile after the defeat from the lands on which their ancestors had settled 300 years ago, which means the loss of the homeland, or the achievement of a compromise with a black majority.

In 1988, Mandela's detention regime in prison was as relaxed as possible, he was given the opportunity to contact the outside world, and in February 1990 he was released. The most odious racial restrictions were finally abolished, the ANC was legalized, Mandela became its president. Years behind bars did not break the prisoner and did not seem to have made it more compliant. "Our decision to resort to armed struggle in 1960 when we created the military wing of the ANC" Umkohonto we Sizwe "was a particularly protective step against the violence of the apartheid regime," he said on the first day at large." "The factors that made the armed forces necessary struggle, still exist.We have no choice but to continue what we have started.We hope that a climate favorable for settling the problems within the framework of the negotiations will soon be created, so that there is no longer any need for armed struggle." These words caused panic among the white population of South Africa, because everything clearly went to the transfer of power to the black majority, and many white people were very much afraid that, having become the master of the situation, Mandela cruelly avenged the white fellow citizens for all resentments and humiliation - their own and the whole people.

The extremely complex process of negotiations to reach a historic compromise, when the power in the country would pass to the black majority and at the same time guarantee the rights of white minorities, lasted almost four years. Meanwhile, violence has increased. It turned out that President de Klerk is not able to fully control the actions of white extremists who created secret organizations, in particular in law enforcement agencies, and, not believing in the good will of their black compatriots, tried to solve the problem by force.

Already in the early 80's, bloody clashes began between the supporters of the Incata and the ANC. The opposition was strongly encouraged and provoked by the government special services. As a result, only in the province of Natal, where the Zulus traditionally lived, killed about 4 thousand people, and 700 more victims were recorded on the outskirts of Johannesburg, where many miners worked in the mines from Natal. And although Mandela immediately urged his followers and supporters "Incata" to collect all their guns, daggers and knives immediately after leaving prison, the negotiations with Butulezi were no less complicated than an attempt to find a common language with de Klerk.

But in the end, however, a transitional constitution was drafted, which in time became the basis of the country's permanent constitution. At the first general elections in South Africa on April 27, 1994, the African National Congress received 63% of the vote. On May 10, Mandela became president of South Africa, de Klerk - one of the two vice-presidents, and Butulesi received the post of Interior Minister of the country, occupying it for 10 years, in particular even after Mandela left power.

During the presidency, Mandela managed to implement ambitious programs to improve living standards and improve the living conditions of the black majority of the country. In the homes of more than 2 million black people, electricity was provided, over 3 million people installed telephones, and as much access to clean drinking water. Over 750,000 houses were built, 500 hospitals were reconstructed and constructed, free education for all black children aged 6-14 years was introduced and 5 million schoolchildren were provided with free meals.

Black returned some of the land that illegally was selected from them by a white minority, all racial restrictions were abolished. And at the same time, heavy industry and agriculture were not destroyed and disorganized, and later remained in the hands of their former owners - mostly whites.

South Africa became the only country in the Black Continent not left by Europeans who lived there after independence and the transfer of power to the indigenous people. After hundreds of thousands and even millions of Frenchmen from Algeria and Tunisia, Portuguese from Angola, Englishmen from Southern Rhodesia, after gaining independence, had to leave the countries where they were born or lived for many years without receiving virtually no compensation for the abandoned property. Only Mandela and his successors succeeded in using the intellectual and business potential of their white countrymen in favor of both themselves and the whole country.

During his presidency, Nelson divorced Winnie. This step was very difficult for him, since Vinnie supported him all the years of imprisonment, became one of the leaders of the ANC. And if most Mandela, the overwhelming majority of black South Africans unconditionally considered "the father of the nation", then Winnie claimed to be the "mother of the nation." In the 80-ies. she created in Johannesburg a football club for black homeless teenagers. "Footballers" of the club actually became Winnie's guards, their activities eventually acquired the features of a mafia structure. In 1989, Winnie's guards in her house killed "for treason" 14-year-old Stompi Moeketsi. Vinnie then managed to avoid criminal responsibility for the fabricated alibi: she allegedly was not in that day in the city. But already after the transfer of power to the black majority there were testimonies that Vinni was not only a witness to the murder, but she herself stabbed the victim with two knives.

It turned out that she also used ANC funds for personal purposes. This Nelson could not forgive his wife. In 1996, they divorced, but in the next Vinny was convicted, admittedly, only for three years, and even that conditionally. In July 1998, 80-year-old Nelson married again - at the 52-year-old Graça Machel, the widow of the president of Mozambique, Samora Mashel, who died in 1986 in a car accident, according to some information inspired by the South African apartheid regime. So Graça Machel-Mandela became the only woman in the world who managed to visit the first lady as much as two countries.

Mandela did not hold on to power until the last. In 1999, he refused to run for president again, and before that he transferred the post of ANC president to his disciple and follower Thabo Mbeki. Later, he took an active part in Mbeki's election campaign and sincerely rejoiced at his victory in the second democratic presidential election. The resignation of Mandela from state and party posts did not mean a complete removal from power. Over the past years, he remained the largest moral authority for his nation, he had great authority in the world.

In a distant trial in 1962 Nelson Mandela said: "I am not a racist, I despise racism, because I consider it barbaric regardless of who its instigators are - black or white." And with his whole life he proved that these are not just words.