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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was an important figure in South Africa who helped to end apartheid He was born on July 18 1918 in the tiny African village of Mvezo His father was a counsel to the Thembu king and Mandela was supposed to inherit this position At the age of seven Nelson Mandela was the first became the first of his family to attend school where a Methodist teacher gave him the name Nelson His father died when he was nine Mandela was adopted by the Regent Jongintaba and went to school right next to his palace After some more schooling in 1937 Nelson moved to Healdtown to attend Wesleyan college He boycotted a Student Council and got kicked out of school Not too soon after that the Regent Jongintaba arranged marriages for Nelson and his son Neither of the young men liked this idea so they fled to Johannesburg where Nelson Mandela completed his degree at the University of South Africa In 1942 Nelson Mandela joined the Youth League of the African National Congress and became involved in passive resistance against the laws that made black people carry passes and other discriminating laws On December 5 1956 Nelson Mandela was arrested along with 150 and charged with treason The trial lasted until 1961 and all were acquitted Then a new class of black activists emerged demanding bigger and more drastic steps In 1959 the ANC lost most of its militant support when the Africanists broke away to form the Pan Africanist Congress In 1961 Nelson became the leader of the ANCs armed wing which he co-founded In 1962 he was arrested for leading workers to strike and leaving the country illegally He was sentenced to five years in prison While he was in jail most of the important ANC leaders were also arrested Mandela was brought to their trail and was charged with the capital crimes of sabotage and crimes equivalent to treason He
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