He was not the only one who believed in that cause to free South Africa of course, and Mandela has always been the first to acknowledge that his eventual freedom was freedom for all. Mandela has been free since 1990 and yet, here in 2009 we see a release of the song, (originally written my Jerry Dammers) hitting YouTube with the Special AKA Free Nelson Mandela super popular. Does it have anything to do with the announcement of Mandela Day? (From the United Nations General Assembly) Well sure, probably it does, but just did what it all mean –what was Nelson in prison for? When Nelson Mandela was released from prison what did that mean?
Nelson Mandela – terrorist. Yes, in the USA this Nobel Peace Prize winner is listed as a terrorist. Why? Because he was a member of the African National Congress and they were all declared as terrorists in around 1961. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned as a terrorist, convicted of treason and sabotage and sentenced for life. His only real crime though was to rid his country South Africa of the atrocities of apartheid and attempt to bring about democracy and equality for all.
Nelson Mendala wanted freedom, not just for himself but for his people. For Mandela prison became a place of teaching. No one can deny the suffering he went through on Robben Island, the mistreatment and the underfeeding. On this Nelson Mandela Island there was plenty of brutality dished out to the people there, most particularly the blacks.
A very thin straw mat on a floor in a cell no more than 5 square metres, coupled with poor food and hard labour was what the Nelson Mandela jail quarters on Robben Island had to offer. As the Free Nelson Mandela song goes he had shoes too small for his feet and a host of other hardships to deal with. After many protests the prisoners were allowed to study and this Nelson Mandela jail became a place of learning.
With Nelson Mandela imprisoned people like Steve Biko took up the ANC’s cause outside. Biko was eventually killed himself, but the ‘war’ against apartheid went on. With assistance from people like Oliver Tambo the world became more aware of both apartheid and Nelson Mandela. The call went out for Nelson Mandela to be freed, and for the South African government to end its apartheid policies. Sanctions were put in place that made life very difficult for South Africa.
Nelson Mandela released were the headlines on February 11, 1990. Nelson Mandela, prisoner 46664 was free. (the 46664 Mandela number also became the symbol for the AIDS campaign) South Africa was on its way to freedom too. The Nelson Mandela release opened the way for negotiations to begin to end apartheid and build a democratic South Africa. With Mandela released from prison there were outbursts of violence, but the ‘Madiba’ himself helped to quell the violence.
46664 was the Nelson Mandela number that is known all over the world, both for the suffering he went through and as the AIDS campaign that he supports and that runs his birthday celebrations. The Nelson Mandela number and the Nelson Mandela date will live on. 27 years of suffering and never once faltering from the cause he eventually won are just part of what make up the nature of this man. Nelson Mandela in jail, Nelson Mandela as President, Nelson Mandela the man was and is an inspiration to us all.