Select and explain the most important turning points in Nelson Mandela’s life

A turning point in someone’s life is an important time and a time where things come to a change.

Nelson Mandela is a very important figure in South Africa’s recent history which is why the turning points in his life are very important for South Africa as a country and its history. I will be examining the most important turning points in Nelson Mandela’s life in which I will be talking about the Sharpeville Massacre and the effects that had on Mandela himself, the Rivionia trials; the negotiations around his release from prison; the CODESA negotiations and the 1994 elections in which he became president.As I look at all these factors in Mandela’s life I will also be picking up on other things which were a turning point in his life. Mandela arrives in Johannesburg in 1941 and sees the differences between Black and White people.

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He is very shocked and wants to do something about it. Mandela meets up with Walter Susilo and Oliver Tambo. Together with Anton Labede he joined the ANC which was the first important turning point in his life. They also formed the youth league and injected new life into the ANC.

Mandela adds new aims in the ANC and takes over the youth club becoming a political figure. This is when he has starts to be recognised by the people. This is very important because this is when people first start forming views on him. A very important turning point I will be talking about in Mandela’s life was his beliefs on violence after the Sharpeville Massacre.

Before the incidents that took place at Sharpeville, Mandela believed in fighting apartheid with non-violence. After the Sharpeville events Mandela changed his beliefs and wanted to start using violence.People’s views on what happened at Sharpeville were very different and it was hard to believe one story but what was a sure thing was that the police of Sharpeville opened fire on the crowd and many were injured. All the people that were a part of the protest which was going on that day said that it was a peaceful organisation where no one wanted to cause any harm but the police opened fire on the crowd unexpectedly.

The police oppose and say the crowd were violent which forced them to open fire. Mandela felt that his people had done nothing wrong and the police opened fire for no reason.He was angry with the government because they did not take any action against the police. He felt that nothing they do will be noticed if he does not use violence, so he persuaded the other ANC leaders to join him.

He formed a new group called the “spear of the people”. The aims of this group were to sabotage government property. This was a very important turning point in his life because he had changed his beliefs. He went from peaceful to violence.

Although he was not immediately successful, he put the government under a lot of pressure and it raised the profile of the campaign.The violence led to many other important events. Mandela had chosen a new path in life which was a turning point for the country as well as him. The next turning point I will be talking about is Rivionia and imprisonment.

A very big turning point in Mandela life is when he gets arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela’s arrest and later his trials at Rivionia may have seemed like his defeat but in the long term proved him to be victorious. Mandela refused to renounce his principals and his powerful closing speech convinced people of his conviction.He talked about the type of South Africa he was ready to die for, where people of any colour are all equal.

He became very famous and raised his own profile and the profile of his cause. Although Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island his popularity grew and grew. He also wrote a book which influenced a lot of people. Mandela’s name became a symbol of resistance to Apartheid in South Africa and other countries.

His popularity was a turning point in his life because this is what helped him gain the support of Africans and other people around the world.Mandela’s popularity forced the government to release him from prison only if he gave up politics. He still refused to give up his principals and insisted the ANC (which had been banned) must be allowed to be legal. Mandela negotiated with the two presidents P.

W Botha and F. W. De Klerk. The government agreed because of the pressure put on them by the African public.

In February 1990 after 26years in prison Mandela was released. After his release he was immediately elected as Deputy President of the ANC and he took effective control over it.By 1991 he had the power to lead the ANC in its negotiations with the government. At this point in Mandela’s life he was doing very well in his campaign to end Apartheid.

Last but not least I will be talking about the biggest turning points in Mandela’s life, the CODESA negotiations and the 1994 elections in which he became the president of South Africa. The CODESA negotiations between the opposition parties and the government were very difficult and they were carried out against a back drop of violence. Mandela was leading the ANC and he stuck to his principals of one person one vote in a free, democratic South Africa.The ANC had to walk out on occasions to get the government to change their mind and eventually they got their way.

In November 1993 the government reached to an agreement that on 27th April 1994 the country will have its first free democratic elections. Because of Mandela’s strong attitude he was respected by all groups, which helped the ANC to win a big majority and make him president. Once Mandela became president he refused to give into hatred and bitterness and refused to use violence to take revenge. He made new aims which agreed to reconciliation between different racial groups and equality for all.

Nelson Mandela’s victory meant Black and White South Africans could unite behind one president that they all had immense respect for. This turning point in Mandela’s life was the first step to helping South Africa solve the problems of its past. Every turning point in Nelson Mandela’s life was one step closer to ending Apartheid in South Africa. Each point was important in its own way.

The most important being the point when he became president because that assured his victory and the end to Apartheid. Though this may not have been possible if all the other turning points which helped Mandela gain the peoples support were nonexistent.

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Select and explain the most important turning points in Nelson Mandela’s life. (2017, Nov 12). Retrieved from