Free «Biographical Research Paper» Essay Sample


To begin with, the person whose biography will be examined in this context is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who was formerly a president in the National Congress as well as a former president of South Africa. There is so much that Mandela has contributed in the history and for this reason it is important to do a close examination of his life through the exploration of his biography. He is the kind of a man who has worked hard for peace as well as standing against racism.

 In order to come up with the information required to make up his biography, several sources of information will be utilized. As such, the sources of information that will be used will involve use of books. As such, these sources will be provided in the works cited page at the end of this work. In the most part of this piece of work, his early life will be brought into view. In line with this, his achievements, work and his political significance in the history will also be explored. At the same time, the important of Nelson Mandela’s biography will be brought into view. 

Research findings and discussion

Mandela’s early life and education

Researchers have provided that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a village known as Umtata in the Transkei (Limb 1). This was dated back on the 18th day of July in the year 1918. In regard to his family background, his father was by then the Acting Paramount Chief of Thembuland. Following the death of his father, was the ascend of the young Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in order to assume the high office as the Paramount Chief. At this point, it is important to bring out the point that as a chief, cases were brought to him in order to judge (Limb 8).

Owing to this factor, the young Nelson was stirred up in himself to pursue law as his profession bringing him to a position of a lawyer (Guiloineau  and Rowe 132). In addition to this point, he was also influenced by the stories that he heard about his ancestors as they reflected valor during the times of resistance wars as they defended their fatherland. This compelled him in addition to make a dream of making a contribution to the freedom struggle of his people to come to a reality.

 In connection to this, researchers have provided his education background. In fact, he received his primary education at a local Methodist mission school. Shortly after his primary school education, Nelson was set to a Healdtown whereby he attended a secondary school of some repute known as Wesleyan secondary school. Following his secondary school education, Nelson managed to enroll in a university college known as Fort Hare for Bachelor of Arts Degree (Guiloineau and Rowe 112).

It was during his university years that he was elected to the position of student’s representative council. In this case, he was then suspended from the school owing to the fact that he got involved in a student’s protest boycott. The suspension however, did not stop him from continuing on with his studies. Instead, he went to Johannesburg whereby he managed to complete his BA by correspondence. He also took clerkship articles and pursued his law. In relation to this, he then entered into politics while he was still studying in Johannesburg. He received his degree in law in the year 1942 (Limb 28).

His life in African National Congress (ANC)

African National Congress was one of the South African political parties. In this context, the main goal of its formation was to improve the rights as well as the conditions of the black people of South Africa of which by then it was ruled by the whites. Although it was a party that was meant to fight for the rights of the blacks and the whites; its conservative position made it ineffective. In spite of this fact, the young Mandela proved to be one of the radical leaders in the ANC’s Youth League (Lodge 92). This was followed by him becoming the president of the league dated back in 1951. Needless to state, 1951 to 1960 were memorable years in South Africa for both South Africa and the ANC. The reason for this was that the younger antiapartheid activists inclusive of Mandela discovered that their efforts almost proved to be an exercise in futility. This is because their protests were somehow peaceful giving room for the government to counter react violently.

Compelled to adapt more violent ways as the peaceful demonstrations did not work, he had to face it rough. Following this point, Mandela was then jailed for nine months for having led an ANC’s youth protest. As if this was not enough, later in the year 1956 Mandela was again arrested for promotion of resistance to the South Africa’s pass laws which restricted the blacks from moving freely in the country (Lodge 56). As a result, Mandela was charged for a crime committed against ones country which is known as treason. This charges however, collapsed by the year 1961 of which ANC was by then outlawed.

 In the same line of thought, the Sharpsville events occurred when it has been pointed out that police fired on some crowd that was made up of unarmed protesters (Lodge 81). Despite the effects of the Sharpeville events, the antiapartheid leaders resolved to create an underground movement since as highlighted the ANC was outlawed. This movement was known as All-African Nation Action Council. This followed to an appointment of Mandela as an honorary secretary later becoming the head of a militant ANC organization which employed destruction of property and other tactics as well used to undermine the government in fight against apartheid.

Mandela as a Political prisoner

Interestingly enough, in 1962 Mandela would also face another five year sentence in jail. This happened owing to the fact that he left South Africa illegally as well as the fact that he incited strikes. During the next year, he was then charged of high treason that resulted to the raid of the group’s secret headquarters by the government. More to this point, Mandela was given to a life sentence of which he had to serve in the maximum security prison on South Africa’s Robben Island (Lodge 188). Being imprisoned for twenty seven years, Mandela was seen as a martyr in South Africa.

As such this welcomed the international protests against apartheid. During this time, discussions about Mandela while in prison were illegal. Additionally, he was allowed to be visited by few visitors. Despite these restrictions, things started falling apart for the white rulers as international pressures to end apartheid were great. Consequently, these led to Mandela’s release (Malam 24). Following his release, Mandela was warmly welcomed wherever he went. Since by this time ANC had been restored, he became the president of the ANC.

Mandela’s Ascent to presidency and his later retirement

Since civil war was the only way out for South Africa, Mandela and deKlerk had to ensure that the whites and blacks compromised. This was made possible by making a multiparty Convention for a Democratic South Africa which led to free elections on April 27, 1994 eventually Mandela becoming the president (Malam 24). During his reign, Mandela worked hard to ensure the restoration of the South African economy.

More to this point, he helped create transition of South Africa to a democratic country. Additionally, he helped the establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commission offering amnesty to those involved in crimes during the apartheid era. This was then followed by Mandela’s retirement in June 1999 (Lodge 17). As a result, he took the role of statesman of which he mediated in the civil war in Burundi.

Accordingly, in 2001 he made it to join the outcry against terrorism. He also supported the American bombing of Afghanistan of which he later modified the support after being criticized by the South African Muslims for being insensitive of the bombings by America after the September 11th attacks. Even up to date, Mandela is alive and so much accredited in the making of the South African history. He is a great man who from the information given was influenced by the stories about his ancestors as well as his pursuit of the dream to fight for the freedom of his fatherland.   


From the above information regarding Mandela’s biography, it can be concluded that he was a man who suffered for a cause. He is one of the national as well as international symbols who fought against racism and he is man who has largely contributed to the history of the South Africans in regard to freedom and fight against colonialism. He is a great contributor to the South African history and achievement of freedom from the white’s apartheid government. It is also evident from the bibliography that has been provided that he was a man who acted as a sacrificial lamb for the liberation of the blacks from the apartheid government.


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