#29 – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Beards of History

Rolihlahla Mandela, or “The Troublemaker” in Xhosa language, was actually quite the contrary. Better known as Nelson, Mandela was a man to solve problems, not create them.

He was born in South Africa in the Madiba clan, where he was given his name “Rolihlahla”. It wasn’t until he started attending school that he was given his english name “Nelson”.

In 1940, he was asked to leave the Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort for his participation in a boycott of the Students’ Representative Council against the university policies. This gave him time to grow out his facial hair, as well as move to Johannesburg to experience the systems of apartheid.

Mandela became an activist and co-founded the ANC Youth League, but because of these efforts, Mandela was sentenced to nine months in prison, and shortly after being released, he was arrested yet again for counts of treason.

Over Mandela’s lifetime, he spent a total of 27 years in prison. However, while his beard changed, his mentality did not.

He continued to plan his next moves in the ANC.

As the movement against apartheid continued to grow, its success caused the government to give in and secretly have meetings with Mandela about ANC. Eventually, these talks became much more open.

With Mandela and his beard as the black community’s delegate, he caused apartheid in South Africa to be abolished and a multiracial government to be established.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa. After retiring in 2004, he left everyone with the words, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” as well as addressing the youth by saying, “It’s in your hands to create a better world.”

In 2013, Nelson Mandela peacefully passed away in his home. His perseverance in a world where everyone was against him is motivational.

His life is an extended metaphor portraying the idea that one should do whatever it takes to do the right thing.

RIP Nelson “The Troublemaker” Mandela, may your beard grow forever.

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