'One Man' An Unauthorized Story on Nelson Mandela
The healing of South Africa began with the destruction of the Apartheid regime, and continued with the election of the
continent's most famous former political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, as its first President. 'One Man' - an unauthorized
story on Nelson Mandela not only traces the personal story and struggle of South Africa's most famous leader, but also
charts the history of racism in the country, from the arrival of the Afrikaans, to the upheaval and segregation of Apartheid
and finally, the dismantling of the cruel regime in the 1990's.
Mandela was born of tribal royalty, his given name Frolala meaning "troublemaker". He was the first in his family to attend
school. On his first day his teacher would give him his distinctly English name, which would stick for life. Yet it was his
birth name that would prove most apt, when as a college student he was expelled for joining in a protest boycott. Nelson
later worked as a miner, for the first time experiencing the injustice of racism, which was rife in the industry. Leaving
mining after finishing his arts degree by correspondence, he began to study law, in the hope of being able to make
changes from the inside. In 1944 he entered the African National Congress and entered politics in earnest.
For many blacks during the Apartheid regime, life was a series of hardships and indignities. Everything - including park
benches and toilets - was subject to segregation. Blacks had no voting rights and were often forced to live in rural
outposts known as shanty towns. The ANC planned a program of peaceful resistance to the changes, including
demonstrations, boycotts and strikes. Mandela himself was instrumental in the formation of the multi racial "Congress of
the People" and the development of its freedom charter, considered a model document for human rights.
By the mid 1950's Mandela's first marriage broke down due to his wife's inability to cope with her husband's political
views. The South African government also found fault with Mandela's belief system, and he was one of 156 race leaders
arrested for high treason. During the long, arduous trial he met and married the love of his life, Winnie. A smart and
motivated woman, Winnie was Johannesburg's first black social worker, along with supporting Nelson's bid to extricate
himself from the charge of treason. He was acquitted, but was later imprisoned for life, barely escaping the death penalty.
Finally freed in 1990 after 27 years, Mandela didn't stop to celebrate his freedom long before setting to work to dismantle
Apartheid, with the help of his wife and South African Prime Minister, F.W DeClerk. Nelson himself became leader, as
well as receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1999.