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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla (Madiba) Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla (Madiba) Mandela is an amazing man who changed history in South Africa and brought democracy to the nation. Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 at Qunu, near Umtata in South Africa. His father was the Chief Councillor to the Superior Chief of the Thembu. As a young boy, he was being prepared to take over as the Chief of the Thembu. With the death of his father in 1930, he was placed under the care of his guardian and cousin, David Dalindyebo, the acting Chief of the Thembu.
While at home, a prepared marriage was being set up for him. To avoid getting married, Mandela and his cousin Justice moved to Johannesburg where he worked temporarily as a night watchman as he wanted to be a lawyer.In Johannesburg, Mandela met Walter Sisulu who assisted him in finding employment as articled clerk with a legal firm. When he completed his BA degree by correspondence in 1941, Mandela enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand for an LLB.

The ANC (African National Congress)

Together with Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela helped in founding the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1944. By 1948 he was holding the position of National Secretary. In 1949 the African National Congress (ANC) supported the ‘Programme of Action’ handed in at their annual conference. The more radical members such as Mandela and Sisulu were elected to the program.
Mandela and Sisulu did not trust other racial groups, but Mandela’s views changed during the 1952 Defiance Campaign. Mandela was made the National ‘Volunteer-in-chief’ of the Defiance Campaign. As part of his duties he moved around South Africa signing up volunteers who were prepared to break apartheid laws. As their first sign of defiance against Apartheid, Mandela and 51 volunteers started breaking the curfew rules.In December 1952, Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened the first Black legal partnership in the country. In the same month, Mandela and some other activists were charted under the Suppression of Communism Act. Mandela was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years.
Over a period of nine years he was put under banning orders. In this time he was also made the Deputy National President of the ANC. Even though he was not allowed to attend the meetings of the ANC, he worked with small groups of the ANC members. Nelson Mandela played a major role in the constructing of the ‘M Plan’ (named after him). The plan formulated the grouping of ANC members to cope with underground activity. Renewed bans made it imperative for Madiba to resign from the ANC in September 1953. From that point Madiba had to lead secretly, except during the year of the Treason Trial.In December 1956 Mandela and 155 political activists were arrested and charged with High Treason. Almost five years later, Justice Rumpff found all of the accused not guilty. In the late 1950s Mandela became National President of the ANC Youth League. By 1959 the treason trial was still in progress. In the same year, the ANC planned an anti-pass laws campaign. The campaign was displaced when the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), arranged mass anti-pass protests on 21 March 1960.
During one of the protests, the Sharpeville massacre occurred. This resulted with the banning of the ANC and the PAC and the government declared a state of emergency. During the time period of the emergency up 1 800 political activists, including Mandela, were imprisoned without charge or trial.In March 1961 an All-In Africa Conference was held in Pietermaritzburg. Various political groups came together. The banning order on Mandela expired on the eve of the conference, allowing him to make a surprise appearance. Subsequently he was placed as the Honorary Secretary of the All-In National Action Council. Mandela and the Council decided to arrange demonstrations against the proclamation of South Africa as a Republic on 31 May.
They wanted to arrange for a three day stay-at-home strike on 29, 30 and 31 May 1961. Mandela had to go underground, to avoid arrest. Mandela and Walter Sisulu travelled the country in secret arranging the specifics of the strike. Mandela (nicknamed the Black Pimpernel at the time) was a fugitive for almost a year and a half. After large police roll-out on the strikers, Mandela called the strike off on the second day.During this time, he and some of his colleagues decided that violence in South Africa was inevitable, and that African leaders could not continue their non-violence policy when the government met human rights demands with violence and force. The decision to form MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe – the Spear of the Nation), was not by the ANC, but certain people in the ANC decided to create it. Nelson Mandela was MK’s first commander-in-Chief.

The Imprisonment of Nelson Mandela

In 1962 Mandela crossed the border in secret to make a surprise appearance at the Pan-African Freedom Movement Conference in Addis Ababa. He explained to the conference why Umkhonto we Sizwe had to make their initial attacks. On his trip, he got guerrilla training in Algeria and travelled to London where he met with leaders of British opposition parties. When Mandela returned to South Africa, he was captured on 5 August near Howick in Natal. Mandela was tried in Pretoria’s Old Synagogue and in November 1962 sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for incitement and illegally leaving the country. He began this sentence in Pretoria Central Prison.While Mandela was in prison, police raided the underground headquarters of the ANC at Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, arresting members like, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Dennis Goldberg and Lionel Bernstein. Police found documents relating to the manufacture of explosives, Mandela’s diary of his African tour and copies of a draft memorandum – ‘Operation Mayibuye’ – which outlined a possible strategy of guerrilla struggle.
In October 1963 Mandela was brought from jail to join the other eight accused on trial for sabotage, conspiracy to overthrow the government by revolution, and assisting an armed invasion of South Africa by foreign troops. Mandela’s statement from the dock was, “I am Prepared to Die” which received worldwide publicity.On 12 June 1964, all of the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment. The following evening Nelson Mandela was flown to Cape Town en route to Robben Island Prison where he was held until April 1982, when he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town. A massive ‘Release Mandela Campaign’ was launched in 1982, in South Africa and abroad. A lot of foreign countries put pressure on the South African government to release Mandela, who at that point was the world’s most famous political prisoner.
From July 1986 Mandela was in contact with government members, initially with the Minister of Justice Kobie Coetzee, and then with the Minister of Constitutional Development, Gerrit Viljoen. Eventually he had a meeting with the State President PW Botha in July 1989 at Tuynhuys. In December 1989 he met the new state president, FW de Klerk.

Mandela’s Release

On 2 February 1990, State President De Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and other political parties during his opening speech to Parliament. Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990. Mandela immediately addressed mass rallies in Cape Town, Soweto and Durban which drew hundreds of thousands of people.

Up to 1994

The years following up to 1994 were very busy. Nelson Mandela travelled South Africa and parts of the World, meeting up with important members of government and the ANC. He started with a trip to Lusaka to meet the ANC’s Executive Committee in March 1990.
Mandela then visited the ANC President – Oliver Tambo in Sweden, but had to end the trip early with the growing unrest within South Africa. In May 1990, Mandela headed the ANC delegation, which held talks with South African government representatives at Groote Schuur. In June, Mandela embarked on his six week tour of Europe, the United Kingdom, North America and Africa. He received recognition wherever he went.During 1992, Mandela continued his programme of extensive international travel, visiting Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. He and the State President – FW De Klerk jointly accepted the Unesco Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize in Paris on 3 February. At the same time the two men attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
On 13 April 1992, Mandela called a press conference at which he stated that he and his wife, Winnie, had agreed to separate as a result of differences, which had arisen between them in recent months.
Mandela indicated in September 1992 that he was prepared to meet De Klerk on condition that he would ban of the public display of dangerous weapons and release the political prisoners. They met at the end of the month and these bi-lateral talks resulted in the signing of a Record of Understanding by the two leaders, which enabled negotiations to be resumed.

Presidential Elections

In September 1993, Mandela visited America and urged world business leaders to lift economic sanctions on South Africa. During the latter half of 1993 and early 1994 Mandela campaigned on behalf of the ANC for the 1994 elections and addressed a large number of rallies and people’s forums. In 1994, the first general elections were held, for all members of the public to vote no matter their race denomination.
On 9 May 1994, Mandela was elected as the State President of South Africa. His presidential inauguration took place the next day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and was attended by the largest gathering of international leaders ever in South Africa.
During his inauguration speech, Mandela called for a ‘time of healing’ and stated that his government would not allow any sort of discrimination. Mandela promised to create a society in which all South Africans could walk tall without fear.
In 1999 Mandela retired from active political duty. He still works with health and educational issues through the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.

Rest  in peace Papa Nelson Mandela. If all African leaders can be like you then Africa would be a better place for us all to live. Unfortunately most of them are very greedy. You fought for the rights of the voiceless. Even after spending so many years in prison ,you only stayed in power for just 5 years with all the sacrifice you put in anyone could have thought you would stay In power for ever  and I am sure the south Africans would still have voted you no matter what because they would have thought that you deserved it but the gentleman you was knew that every one deserves a chance hence reason you spent so many years in prison. Papa good people do not die. You are just resting and your legacy will live on. Rest in peace Madiba.

What Is AIDS? What Is HIV?

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The illness alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the disease progresses.

HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk). The virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivering the baby during childbirth, and through breast feeding.

HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as vaginal, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles.

Both the virus and the disease are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some will then develop AIDS.  The development of numerous opportunistic infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.

According to research, the origins of HIV date back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century in west-central Africa. AIDS and its cause, HIV, were first identified and recognized in the early 1980s.

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS.  Treatments can slow the course of the disease -  some infected people can live a long and relatively healthy life.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the virus which attacks the T-cells in the immune system.
AIDS is the syndrome which appears in advanced stages of HIV infection.
HIV is a virus.
AIDS is a medical condition.
HIV infection causes AIDS to develop. However, it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. Without treatment, the HIV infection is allowed to progress and eventually it will develop into AIDS in the vast majority of cases.
HIV testing can identify infection in the early stages. This allows the patient to use prophylactic (preventive) drugs which will slow the rate at which the virus replicates, delaying the onset of AIDS.
AIDS patients still have the HIV virus and are still infectious.  Someone with AIDS can pass HIV to someone else

What are the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

What is the difference between a sign and a symptom? A sign is something other people, apart from the patient can detect, such as a swelling, rash, or change in skin color. A symptom is something only the patient feels and describes, such as a headache, fatigue, or dizziness.

For the most part, the symptoms of HIV are the result of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These conditions do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems, which protect the body against infection.
Signs and symptoms of early HIV infection
Many people with HIV have no symptoms for several years. Others may develop symptoms similar to flu, usually two to six weeks after catching the virus. The symptoms can last up to four weeks.
Symptoms of early HIV infection may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • muscle ache
  • sore throat
  • sweats (particularly at night)
  • enlarged glands
  • a red rash
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Asymptomatic HIV infection
In many cases, after the initial symptoms disappear, there will not be any further symptoms for many years. During this time, the virus carries on developing and damages the immune system. This process can take up to 10 years. The infected person will experience no symptoms, feel well and appear healthy.
Late-stage HIV infection
If left untreated, HIV weakens the ability to fight infection. The person becomes vulnerable to serious illnesses. This stage of infection is known as AIDS.
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection may include:

  • blurred vision
  • diarrhea,  which is usually persistent or chronic
  • dry cough
  • fever of above 37C (100F) lasting for weeks
  • night sweats
  • permanent tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen glands lasting for weeks
  • weight loss
  • white spots on the tongue or mouth

During late-stage HIV infection, the risk of developing a life-threatening illness is much greater. Examples include:

  • esophagitis(an inflammation of the lining of the lower end of the esophagus)
  • infections to the nervous system (acute aseptic meningitis, subacute encephalitis, peripheral neuropathy)
  • pneumonia
  • some cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, invasive cervical cancer, lung cancer, rectal carcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, head and neck cancers, cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas
  • toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by a parasite that infects the brain. It can also cause disease in the eyes and lungs)
  • tuberculosis

Life-threatening illnesses may be controlled and treated with proper HIV treatment.

What causes HIV/AIDS?

HIV is a retrovirus that infects the vital organs of the human immune system. The disease progresses in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.  The rate of disease progression varies widely between individuals and depends on many factors (age of the patient, body’s ability to defend against HIV,  access to health care, existence of coexisting infections, the infected person’s genetic inheritance, resistance to certain strains of HIV).
HIV can be transmitted through:

  • Sexual transmission. It can happen when there is contact with infected sexual secretions (rectal, genital or oral mucous membranes). This can happen while having unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex or sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV.
  • Perinatal transmission. The mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and also through breastfeeding.
  • Blood transmission. The risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusion is nowadays extremely low in developed countries, thanks to meticulous screening and precautions. Among drug users, sharing and reusing syringes contaminated with HIV-infected blood is extremely hazardous.
    Thanks to strict protection procedures the risk of accidental infection for healthcare workers is low.
    Individuals who give and receive tattoos and piercings are also at risk and should be very careful.

Myths: There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. The virus CANNOT be transmitted from:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • casual kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • or other forms of “casual contact”

How is HIV/AIDS diagnosed?

1 in every 5 HIV-positive Africans is unaware of their HIV-status, and only 49% of those who are aware receive ongoing medical care and treatment.
HIV blood test
Diagnosis is made through a blood test that screens specifically for the virus.
If the HIV virus has been found, the test result is “positive”. The blood is re-tested several times before a positive result is given to the patient.
For those whose tests came back positive, they will be asked to undergo some other tests to see how the infection has progressed, and also to decide when to start treatment.
If a person has been exposed to the virus, it is crucial that they get tested as soon as possible. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely the treatment will be successful.  Also, precautions can be taken to prevent the virus from spreading to other people.
After infection with HIV, it can take up from three weeks to three months for the virus to show up in testing. Re- testing may be necessary.
If a patient’s most at risk moment of becoming HIV infected was within the last three months, he/she can have the test immediately. However, a good doctor will urge that another test be carried out within a few weeks.


What is rape?

Rape is a crime. It is when one or more people force another person to have sexual intercourse against their will. It most often happens when a man rapes a woman, but a man/men can rape another man by anal intercourse, and women have very, very rarely been had up for raping a man. It can happen with someone you don’t know or someone that you do know. The crucial thing is that you don’t want it to happen.
A particular nasty form of rape is when someone spikes your drink with a drug that totally makes you forget what has happened and you find yourself in a strange place and don’t know how you got there, but you are aware that someone has had sexual intercourse with you.

And date rape?

Is when you have a ‘date’ with someone, and they take you out, and then they assume that, in exchange for you being taken out – you will have sexual intercourse with them even if you do not want to.

What to do if you have been raped or think that you may have been raped.

Most police forces now run a special ‘Rape Unit’ with specially trained police officers, who are usually women, though if you are a man you can ask to be seen by a man. You should contact the unit immediately by dialling 999 and asking to be put through to them. You can go to your GP if you want to – but make sure you are seen on the same day – don’t wait for an appointment a week later.
You will normally be seen in a special place called a Sexual Assault Referral Centre. It is usually very nice and relaxed and you will be seen by specially trained doctors and counsellors who deal with this sort of this every day. If you are under 16 the police have to be involved but it can all be kept totally confidential – your normal doctor doesn’t have to know if you don’t want them to. The important thing is you get the help you need.
You will need to be examined by a doctor and she/he will take samples form your vagina and/or anus. You MUST NOT WASH – even if you feel that you really, really want to – it is extremely important that they take specimens from you including from your vaginal area, as the man’s sperm can be examined and identified as coming from him. If you wash, you wash the sperm away.

What will happen after you have contacted the Rape Unit or your own doctor?

They will talk to you and take a statement about what has happened. They will need to examine your vagina/anus and take specimens, and advise you about how to make sure that you do not get pregnant. They will also check out to make sure that you have not got any sexually transmitted disease, and if you have then they will arrange for treatment. They will arrange counselling for you.
The rape unit (police) will discuss about bringing a charge against the man and how best to succeed in bringing him to courts and getting a criminal charge against him. You don’t have to get involved in a court situation. People are often scared about getting someone they know into trouble. You may feel it is your fault and can’t face standing up in court saying what happened. Don’t worry about all of this – you don’t have to press charges. What is really really important is that you get the help you need.

Relationships and abuse

Abuse is when someone is deliberately doing something to you which you do not want. There are many different kinds of abuse – sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse are the main ones, though people may use a whole combination of these against someone else. There is not much difference between bullying and abuse, in fact bullying is a form of abuse. If you feel that you are, in any way, being abused then tell someone you trust about it. Best is to tell an adult as they can take action and make sure it stops.